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•• How strange it is that so few attempts have been made to trace the rise and 
progress of this great branch of industry, the Cotton Manufacture ; to mark the 
successive steps of its advancement, the solidity of the foundations on which 
it re-ts. and the influence which it has already had, and must continue to have, 
on the number and condition of the people." — McCclloch, Edinburgh Review. 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1863, by 

Little, Brown and Company, 

in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts. 



The Cotton Manufacture has attained such 
importance in the United States, as to excite 
an interest as to its early history. Many cir- 
cumstances, apparently of little consequence at 
the time, depend at present on personal rec- 
ollection, and unless placed upon record now, 
^ill, a few years hence, only be recognised in 
the uncertainty of tradition. 

I rjropose therefore to bring together such 
particulars as I have collected from time to 
time to gratify my own curiosity, and to add 
such as can still be obtained from any reli- 
able authorities, in relation to the introduc- 
tion and progress of the Cotton Manufacture 
in this country ; and some sketches of the 
state of the business in other countries, par- 
ticularly in Great Britain, at the time when 
their cotton machinery was introduced here. 

In pursuing my inquiries, besides the in- 
formation received from many others, I have 


to acknowledge my particular obligations to 
Mr. Zacliariali Allen of Providence, Mr. Edward 
E. Manton of the Manufacturers' Mutual Insur- 
ance Company, Boston, and to Col. Joshua 
Herrick, who at the age of about eighty years, 
is still actively engaged in the employment of 
the government, and able to communicate per- 
sonally his recollections of the first Cotton 
Factory built in this country, at Beverly, 

It has been very difficult to obtain such in- 
formation as I wished respecting matters 0/ 
which there is no record, and in which no one 
has hitherto felt sufficient interest to transmit, 
in any available form, the facts within their 
knowledge ; so that the following pages should 
only be considered an imperfect attempt to 
preserve such fragments as may be useful to 
some one, who may in future be able to treat 
the subject more satisfactorily. 


Cambridge, October, 1863. 


"When our attention is called to the history 
of the Cotton Manufacture, we cannot fail to 
be struck with the change that has taken 
place, both in this country and in Europe, 
during the life of a single generation. Nor 
is this change confined to those actually em- 
ployed in the business, but extends to the 
habits, occupation, and condition of a great 
proportion of the population. 

It was only by reason of a fortunate con- 
currence of several improvements in labor- 
saving machinery that such an extension of 
the cultivation and manufacture of cotton 
was rendered possible. 

Without the application of rollers to the 
drawing of the thread, and the consequent 
use of w^ater-power in spinning, the whole 
population of Great Britain, exclusive of 
those employed hi agriculture, would not be 
able to produce the quantity of yarn now 


spun in that country ; and without the ap- 
plication of .steam-power, all the waterfalls in 
the island would be insufficient to drive the 

Without the invention of Whitney's cot- 
ton-gin it would have been impossible for 
this country to have supplied the raw ma- 
terial for the increasing wants of the manu- 
facturer ; — and when by these means the 
production of cotton yarn had exceeded the 
ability of the hand-loom weaver, to convert 
it into cloth, the invention of the power-loom 
not only supplied the deficiency, but gave a 
new impulse to all the preliminary branches 
of the manufacture. 

It is thus that mutual wants concur to 
stimulate improvements ; and the introduction 
of cotton machinery — which in England was 
opposed by mobs and violence on account of 
an apprehension that laborers would be thrown 
out of employment, and in this country was 
regarded with little favor, from the fear that 
the female part of the population, by the 
disuse of the distaff, should become idle — 
lias resulted in the profitable employment of 
a much larger number than could have been 
supported by the business in the former la- 
borious process, without the aid of machinery, 
and, besides, has reduced the cost of cotton 


clothing to a degree which adds much to the 
comfort and probably also to the average 
duration of human life. 

In speaking of the cotton manufacture, I 
wish to be understood as indicating such 
operations as are carried on by the use of 
machinery driven by water or steam power, 
or by other means than the direct application 
of human labor. The introduction of such 
machinery marks a great era in the world's 
history, not simply in relation to those directly 
employed in the business, but also by the 
market afforded, and the encouragement given 
for raising such quantities of the raw material 
as the whole population of the world would 
scarcely be able to spin and weave, by the 
use of the single spindle and the hand-shuttle. 

Until about forty years previous to the 
commencement of our Revolutionary War, all 
the fabrics made of cotton were woven on 
the common loom, in which the shuttle was 
thrown through the web with one hand, and 
caught with the other, and this operation 
repeated for every thread of the woof. The 
yarn was spun upon a wheel with a single 
spindle, and the cotton was prepared for spin- 
ning by the laborious operation of carding 
with a pair of hand-cards. 

Stock cards were substituted for hand cards 


at a date which cannot be well ascertained, 
and in 1748, August 30th, a patent was 
granted to Lewis Paul, in which he describes 
the use of a card cylinder operating upon 
cards placed beneath. Further improvements 
in carding were said to have been made by 
Lees and Hargraves, but there is no record 
of any patent to either. 

About this time many attempts were made 
to apply machinery to the spinning of cotton. 
Among the first which went into operation 
with any success was the Spinning Jenny, 
which was little else than uniting a number 
of spindles in the same machine, but oper- 
ating by extending and twisting the thread 
in the same manner as on the one-thread 
wheel by hand. 

During the period from 1768 to 1775, 
Arkwright obtained his patents for spinning 
by means of rollers, and for machinery for 
the carding and preparation of the cotton in 
a manner adapted to that mode of spinning. 
These were the great points in the establish- 
ment of manufacturing by machinery. The 
other branches of the business had in the 
mean time become so far perfected, that, in 
1774, an Act of Parliament was passed to 
prevent the exportation of cotton machinery, 
with the intention of confining those im- 


provements to Great Britain, and thus securing 
a monopoly of this branch of manufacturing. 

During our Revolutionary War, Arkwright 
was improving and extending the manufacture 
of cotton. His patents were contested, and 
sometimes his machinery was broken by mobs; 
and in 1781, by a failure in one of his suits 
in the Court of King's Bench, the use of his 
machinery became public, and his patents were 
finally declared void in 1785. 

In 1782 Watt took his patent for the steam- 
engine ; and in 1785 cylinder printing was 
invented by Bell. So that the close of our 
Revolutionary War found England in possession 
of all the elements of her great manufactur- 
ing prosperity, and prepared to extend the 
business as fast as a supply of raw material 
could be furnished. 

At this time, 1784, the quantity of cotton 
used in England annually was supposed to 
be only about 11,000,000 pounds* 

In the correspondence of the Earl of Chat- 
ham, Vol. II. p. 420, it is stated in a note 
that, "in 1766, cotton, as an article of com- 
merce, was scarcely known in Great Britain. 
The entire value of cotton goods manulac- 

* In The Cotton Trade of Great Britain, by Mann, pp. 93, 94, 
the quantity of cotton consumed in 1781 is stated at 5,101,990 
pounds, and in 1859 at 976,600,000 pounds. 


tured at the accession of George the Third 
being estimated to amount to only £200.000 
sterling a year; and in 1782 the whole prod- 
uce of the cotton manufacture did not ex- 
ceed £2,000,000." In 1859 the exports alone 
were above £48,000,000. 

Pepys, in his Diary, under date of Feb- 
27, 1664, says: "Sir Martin Noel told us, 
the dispute between him, as farmer of the 
additional duty, and the East India Company, 
whether calico be linen or no, which he says 
it is, having been ever returned so. They 
say it is made of cotton wool and grows upon 

The printed calicoes made in Great Britain 
before the time of Arkwright's inventions were 
always made with linen warp, the cotton 
spun by hand not being strong enough for 
that purpose. 

When by means of Arkwright's machinery 
cotton yarn was made suitable for warps, the 
prejudice against new inventions was such 
that the manufacturers could not be pre- 
vailed upon to weave it into calicoes. Mr. 
Strutt was at length successful in weaving a 
considerable quantity, when it was discovered 
that they were subject to double the duty 
of those manufactured with linen warp, and, 
when printed, were prohibited. He had there- 


fore to petition Parliament for relief, which 
was obtained, after much opposition from the 
Lancashire manufacturers. 

About this time, 1781, the English began 
to import some cotton from Brazil, and ten 
years later from the United States; but the 
quantity proved altogether inadequate to sup- 
ply the demands of the increasing manufac- 
tures of England, on account of the difficulty 
of separating the cotton from the seed, either 
by the hand or any machinery then in use, 
particularly of the kind which was best 
adapted to cultivation in our soil and cli- 
mate. At this time, 1793, the invention of 
the saw-gin by Eli Whitney removed the dif" 

Thus step by step, in Great Britain and 
this country, within little more than half a 
century, improvements have been made in 
the manufacture and production of cotton, 
which have given it great importance in 
finance and political economy, and no small 
influence in international affairs. 

The attention of Hamilton was drawn at a 
very early period to the importance of the 
cultivation and manufacture of cotton. The 
following extracts are from two pamphlets 
published by him in 1774 and 1775, in vin- 
dication of the measures of Congress. 


"With respect to cotton, you do not pre- 
tend to deny that a sufficient quantit}^ may 
be produced. Several of the Southern col- 
onies are so favorable to it that, with due 
cultivation, in a couple of years they would 
afford enough to clothe the whole continent. 
As to the expense of bringing it by land, 
the best way will be to manufacture it where 
it grows, and afterwards transport it to the 
other colonies. Upon this plan I apprehend 
the expense would not be greater than to 
build and equip large ships to import the 
manufactures of Great Britain from thence. 
If we were to turn our attention from ex- 
ternal to internal commerce, we would give 
greater facility and more lasting prosperity 
to our country than she can possibly have 

otherwise If by the necessity of the 

thing manufactures should once be established 
and take root among us, they will pave the 
way still more to the future grandeur and 
glory of America." Life of Hamilton, by his 
son, Vol. I. pp. 29-35. 

The foregoing extracts show a remarkable 
anticipation and foreshadowing of coming 
events in regard both to the cultivation and 
manufacture of cotton, at a time when there 
was little promise or anticipation of either, 
and indicate a wonderful maturity of judg- 
ment in a youth of eighteen. 


The first attempt at manufacturing cotton 
by machinery in England, of which we have 
any account, was the invention, by John 
Wyatt, of Litchfield, of machinery for spin- 
ning, for which a patent was taken in 1738 
in the name of Lewis Paul.* 

A mill was built at Birmingham in 1741 
or 1742, which was turned by two asses 
walking round an axis; and ten girls were 
employed in attending the work. This estab- 
lishment was unsuccessful, and the machinery 
was sold in 1743. 

A work upon a larger scale upon a stream 
of water was established at Northampton, with 
250 spindles, and employed fifty hands ; but 
the work did not prosper, and in 1764 passed 
into other hands, as appears from the letter 
of Charles Wyatt, the son of the inventor, 
published in Baines's History of the Cotton 
Manufacture, p. 135. 

In 1733, John Kay of Colchester invented 
the fly-shuttle, which was used by the woollen 
weavers, whose cloth was usually so wide as 
to require one person on each side of the 
loom to ' throw the shuttle ; but it was used 
very little by weavers of cotton until 1760, 
when his son, Robert Kay, invented the drop- 
box, by means of which the weaver can use 

* See note A. at end of volume. 


any one of three shuttles, with weft of differ- 
ent colors, at pleasure.* 

About 1740, manufacturing was commenced 
at Manchester. The merchants supplied the 
weavers with warps, which were of linen yarn 
imported from Germany, and with raw cotton 
for the weft, which the weavers employed 
their own families, or other parties, to card 
and spin. 

At this time the carding was done by hand- 
cards, — the spinning on the common one- 
thread wheel, and the weaving on the hand- 

To facilitate the supply of weft for the 
weavers, which it was difficult to procure in 
sufficient quantity, the spinning-jenny was 
invented by Thomas Highs, about 1764. He 
also claims the invention of spinning by 
rollers, having made some experiments with 
rollers before they were used by Arkwright. 

About this time various improvements were 
made in the carding machinery to supersede 
the hand-cards then in use, which resulted in 
the introduction of a cylinder card, from which 
the cotton was taken by hand. 

* In the patent of John Kay, May 26, 1833, the specification 
in describing the operation of the fly-shuttle says : " The 

weaver sits in the middle of the loom and pulls a small cord, 
which easts the shuttle from side to side at pleasure. The cloth 
is more even than it is where the layer (lay) is pulled by two 
men, one at each end of the loom." 


In 1772, John Lees invented the feeder, and 
James Hargreaves, who had made important 
improvements in the spinning-jenny, was 
said to have invented the crank and comb 
for taking the cotton from the card ; and 
Thomas Wood, in 1774, obtained what was 
called a perpetual or endless carding, by nail- 
ing the cards on the cylinder spirally instead 
of longitudinally, — for which he obtained a 
patent in 1776. All of these improvements 
were combined in Arkwright's machinery ; for 
which he took his second patent in 1775 ; and 
the parties above named claimed one or 
another of these inventions ; and Guest, in his 
u History of the Cotton Manufacture," seems 
to admit all these claims in his anxiety to 
limit the merit of Arkwright, and says he 
used a revolving can for twisting the rovings, 
or perpetual carding, which had been used 
for that purpose by Butler as early as 1759, 
which was before any machinery for produc- 
ing such roving or perpetual carding was 

It is not always easy to decide to whom 
we ought to award the merit of many inven- 
tions, which may have been the study of 
various ingenious mechanics for years with- 
out success ; and it happens in relation to 
cotton machinery, as in other mechanical in- 


ventions, that there are conflicting claims to 
all the most important improvements, after 
they are put in operation. Many may have 
been engaged for a long time in unsuccessful 
attempts to accomplish the object, and among 
them some who have been partially success- 
ful, but not so far as to make their schemes 
of any practical utility. At length some one 
with better advantages, or better workman- 
ship, or by the application of the same prin- 
ciples with more skill and better judgment, 
builds a machine which goes into success- 
ful operation. In such a case all the un- 
successful schemers rise up and say, " I tried 
that principle," or "I put that wheel in oper- 
ation years ago " ; and thus all those, who 
condemn themselves by having made the at- 
tempt without success, come before the pub- 
lic and contend for the merit of the more 
fortunate or more skilful mechanic who has 
brought the plan to perfection. 

Something of this kind probably occurred 
in relation to the invention of Ark w right's 
spinning machinery. According to the evi- 
dence on the trial in relation to his patent 
in 1785, it would appear that Highs, who 
invented the spinning-jenny in 1763 or 1764, 
afterward made some experiments or at- 
tempts at spinning with rollers, but without 


succeeding so far as to make it of any prac- 
tical use. It seems probable that Arkwright 
became acquainted with the experiments of 
Highs, and was able, by combination with his 
own plans, to mature the invention, and put 
it in successful operation. This, as well as 
most other important improvements, is the 
result of successive experiments and failures, 
— until some one who becomes acquainted 
with the unsuccessful schemes, and has the 
skill and good judgment to remedy the de- 
fects, succeeds in perfecting the invention. 

In 1780 there were twenty water-frame 
factories, the property of Mr. Arkwright, or 
of parties who had paid him for permission 
to use his machinery; and after his patent 
was made public in 1785, the number in- 
creased so rapidly that in 1790 there were 
one hundred and fifty cotton factories in Eng- 
land and Wales. 

Soon after the renewal of intercourse, which 
took place between this country and Great 
Britain in consequence of the peace of 1783, 
we obtained some knowledge that during the 
war and the contest with us for the few 
years preceding, she had commenced a new 
branch of business, which she was pursuing 
and extending with wonderful success; but 
in consequence of their laws, passed in 1774, 


against the exportation of machinery and the 
emigration of mechanics and manufacturers, 
our information on the subject was for a 
long time confined to vague and uncertain 

Tench Coxe says, in his Report in 1810: 
"In 1786 I became acquainted with the fact 
that labor-saving spinning machinery was con- 
siderable in Great Britain. It was understood 
that it was applicable at that time only to 
the carding and spinning of cotton, which we 
then constantly imported from foreign coun- 
tries, apparently to the amount of our whole 
consumption. In the course of the following 
autumn and winter, repeated examinations 
and considerations of the subject occasioned 
very high expectations from a few well au- 
thenticated facts in relation to the production 
of the cotton raw material in gardens and 
other small pieces of land as far north as 
38° 45',— the County of Talbot, Maryland, 
and in some other places on the rivers of 
the Chesapeake Bay. It was inferred, that, as 
the shrub or the tree grew in that central 
degree of our country, all the extensive re- 
gion south of 39° was capable of producing 
cotton, which is found in climates not only 
hotter than those of North America, but in 
the torrid zone. It was therefore confidently 


presumed that the cotton-spinning mill might 
be brought into very beneficial use in the 
United States. The production of cotton in 
the old settlements of Virginia was carefully 
examined as a test of this opinion, and op- 
portunities offered to make it in a manner 
commanding entire confidence. 

" After the more exact information of the 
existence and operation of the labor-saving 
machinery in Europe had led to due reflection 
on the incalculable importance of the vast 
capacity of this country to produce the proper 
raw material, the effectual measures were 
actively pursued to excite the attention of 
the whole community, and particularly of the 
planters of the five original Southern States. 
But, though our capacity to produce the cotton 
was so great, as at this time we know it to 
have always been, — though labor-saving ma- 
chinery was effecting a gainful revolution in 
manufactures in Great Britain, — though cotton 
was then worth in the United States forty- 
four cents per pound, owing to foreign trade- 
laws, — and though it was at high prices in 
many parts of Europe, — several years had 
elapsed before sufficient attention to the cul- 
ture could be excited, even by the numerous 
publications which were incessantly made." 
In addition to the foregoing from Tench 


Coxe, I make the following extract from a 
pamphlet by Dr. G. Emerson of Philadelphia, 
entitled " Cotton in the Middle States," pub- 
lished last year (1862): — 

" Long before the Southern States took up 
its regular culture, cotton was raised on the 
eastern shore of Maryland, lower counties of 
Delaware, and other places in the Middle 
States. As early as 1736, and for some time 
after, it was chiefly regarded as an ornamental 
plant, and confined to gardens ; but it soon 
became appreciated for its useful qualities, 
and was brought under rermlar cultivation. 
This culture, though comparatively limited in 
those places, has never been entirely aban- 
doned up to the present day. I have myself 
seen many families who came from Sussex 
County, Delaware, to reside in the adjoining 
County of Kent, wearing clothes made of 
cotton of their own raising, spinning, and 

"The culture of cotton in this section of 
our country gradually diminished in conse- 
quence of the vast area over which the plant 
was extended in more southern States. In 
competition with these, our more northern 
farmers found they possessed superior advan- 
tages for raising other field-crops, from which 
they derived greater profits. 


c: Limited as has been the culture of cotton 
on the peninsula between the Delaware and 
Chesapeake Bays, it has furnished a demon- 
stration of the highest importance to our 
country. In proof of this it may be stated, 
that, at the close of the Revolution, a conven- 
tion was held at Annapolis, in 1786, to con- 
sider what means could be best resorted to 
for the purpose of remedying the embarrass- 
ment of the country, then so much exhausted 
in its finances. The late President Madison, 
a member of this convention, from Virginia, 
there expressed it as his opinion, that, from the 
resuUs of cotton raising in Talbot County, Maryland, 
and numerous other proofs furnished in Virginia, 
there was no reason to doubt l that the United States 
would one day become a great cotton-producing 
country ! ' 

"It would hence appear that the first cul- 
ture of cotton in the United States, worthy 
of notice, was made on the peninsula between 
the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays, from 
whence it crossed into Western Maryland and 
Virginia, and so went southwards." 

Dr. Emerson further reports that cotton has 
heretofore been raised in the lower portion 
of the peninsula between the Delaware and 
Chesapeake Bays, so as to form an important 
item in home industry. A colored family 


Game last year from Sussex County to live in 
Camden, Delaware, bringing with them the 
seed of cotton, which they had continued to 
cultivate, and spin and weave for clothing. 
The cotton in this new situation perfected 
itself well, as appears from a boll in my pos- 
session ; and Dr. Emerson proposes to plant 
several acres with this seed, which had be- 
come acclimated, so that, according to the 
experience of the last season, the cotton 
matured much more perfectly in that location 
from seed that had been raised there than 
from seed procured at distant places. 

In relation to the first cultivation of cotton 
in Carolina and Georgia, the following are 
extracts from a letter given by Tench Coxe 
from Richard Teake, dated Savannah, Dec. 11, 
1788: "I have been this year an adventurer, 
and the first that has attempted on a large 
scale in the article of cotton. Several here, 
as well as in Carolina, have followed me, and 

tried the experiment I shall raise about 

five thousand pounds in the seed from about 
eight acres of land, and next year I expect 
to plant from fifty to one hundred acres. 

.... The lands in the southern part of 
this State are admirably adapted to the rais- 
ing of this commodity. The climate is so 
mild so far to the South, scarce any winter 


is felt, and — another grand advantage — ivhiles 
can be employed. The labor is not severe 
attending it, not more than raising Indian 

In relation to the origin of Sea Island cot- 
ton, he gives, as communicated by Dr. Mease, 
a letter from Patrick Walsh, from which the 
following is extracted : " It is pleasing to 
view the rising prosperity of the land you 
live in, and particularly so, too, when I re- 
flect that one of the present sources of her 
riches was, in a very great measure, derived 
from myself. In the year 1785 I settled in 
Kingston, Jamaica, where, finding my friend 
Frank Leavet, with his family and all his 
negroes, in a distressed situation, he applied 
to me for advice as to what steps he should 
take, having no employment for his slaves. 
I advised him to go to Georgia and settle 
on some of the islands, and plant provisions 

until something better turned up At 

length he resolved to go to the place I rec- 
ommended. Early in the year 1786 I sent 
him a large quantity of various seeds of 
Jamaica; and Mr. Moss and Colonel Brown 
requested me to get some of the Pernam- 
buco cotton seed, of which I sent him three 
large sacks, of wdiich he made no use but 
by accident. In a letter to me in 1789 he 


said : ' Being in want of the sacks for gather- 
ing in my provisions, I shook their contents 
on the dung-hill, and it happening to be a 
very wet season, in the spring multitudes of 
plants covered the place. These I drew out 
and transplanted them into two acres of 
ground, and was highly gratified to find an 
abundant crop. This encouraged me to plant 
more. I used all my strength in cleaning 
and planting, and have succeeded beyond my 
most sanguine expectations.' " 

In 1789, South Carolina and Georgia were 
at a very low ebb. Their great staples, nee 
and indigo, had declined in price, and they 
had not as yet entered on the cultivation of 
cotton. ^Eclanus Burke, in a debate on the 
tariff, on the 16th of April, 1789, to induce 
the House to lay a considerable duty on 
hemp and cotton, gave a melancholy picture 
of the situation of those States. " The sta- 
ple products of South Carolina and Georgia," 
he observed, "were hardly worth cultivation 
on account of their fall in price. The lands 
were certainly well adapted to the growth 
of hemp, and he had no doubt but its cul- 
ture would be practised with attention. Cot- 
ton was likewise in contemplation among 
them, and if good seed could be procured, 
he hoped might succeed." 


Considering that among the complaints 
against Great Britain before the Revolution 
some of the principal were the restrictions 
upon trade and intercourse between the col- 
onies, and the discouragement, and prohibi- 
tion in many cases, of manufacturing for 
themselves, it is not surprising to find that, 
at the close of the war, we very soon turned 
our attention to the introduction of such 
branches of manufacture as promised any ad- 
vantage ; and the recent improvements that 
had been made in the application of machin- 
ery to the manufacture of cotton in Great 
Britain could not fail to make this a prom- 
inent object. Accordingly we find, that, as 
early as 1786, before the adoption of the 
Constitution of the United States, the Legis- 
lature of Massachusetts was offering an en- 
couragement for the introduction of machin- 
ery for carding and spinning cotton. 

On the 25th of October, 1786, Richard 
Cranch of the Senate, and Mr. Clarke and 
Mr. Bowdoin of the House, were appointed — 
" to view an}' new invented machines that 
are making within this Commonwealth for 
the purpose of manufacturing sheep's and 
cotton wool, and report what measures are 
proper for the Legislature to take to encour- 
age the same." This committee reported that 


u they had examined those very curious and 
useful machines made by Robert and Alex- 
ander Barr for the purpose of carding and 
spinning cotton." And, in accordance with 
the further report of the committee, a re- 
solve was passed on the 16th of November, 
1786, granting the sum of £200, "to enable 
them to complete the said three machines, 
and also a roping machine, and to construct 
such other machines as are necessary for the 
purpose of carding, roping, and spinning of 
sheep's wool, as well as of cotton wool." 

On the 8th of March, 1787, "Richard 
Cranch was appointed by the Senate, with 
such as the House should join, to examine 
the machines, which are now nearly com- 
pleted," — and to examine and allow the ac- 
count of Robert and Alexander Barr; "and 
also to report to the next General Court 
what gratuity in their opinion the said Robert 
and Alexander justly deserve, as a reward for 
their ingenuity in forming those machines, and 
as an encouragement for their public spirit in 
making them known to this Commonwealth." 

The committee allow their account to the 
amount of £189 12.5., in which is contained an 
item for "expense in transporting the ma- 
chines to and from Boston," — from which we 
may infer that they were exhibited to the 


On May 2, 1787, a resolve was passed dis- 
charging them from the £200, and granting 
them six tickets in the land lottery ; — and pro- 
viding: further, that said machines should be 
left under the care of Hugh Or, Esq., who is 
"requested to explain to such citizens as may 
apply for the same the principles on which 
said machines are constructed and the advan- 
tages arising from their use, both by verbal 
explanations, and by letting them see the ma- 
chinery at work." 

According to Judge Mitchell's " History of 
Bridgewater," Colonel Hugh Orr of that place 
was instrumental in the first introduction of 
cotton machinery into this country. Hugh 
Orr was born at Lochwinnock in Scotland, Jan- 
uary 2, 1715, and came to America June 17, 
1740, and settled at Bridgewater, where he 
died December 6, 1798. He was engaged 
there before the Revolution in the manufacture 
of fire-arms, and at the commencement of that 
war made the first cannon that were made in 
this country by boring from the solid casting. 
He is said to have invited Robert and Alex- 
ander Barr, brothers, from Scotland, in order 
to construct at his works in East Bridgewater 
machinery for carding, roving, and spinning 

Thomas Somers, another Scotchman, under 


the direction of Mr. Orr. constructed other 
machinery for the same purpose ; and on the 
eighth of March, 1787, the General Court placed 
in the hands of Mr. Orr twenty pounds for the 
encouragement of the artist. Mr. Orr also, 
about the same time, employed another for- 
eigner, by the name of McClure, to weave jeans 
and corduroys by hand with the fly-shuttle. 

In March, 1787, a petition was before the 
Legislature of Massachusetts, from Thomas 
Somers, said 'to have been a midshipman in 
the English nav}-, representing, "that, in the 
fall of the year 1785, the tradesmen and man- 
ufacturers of Baltimore, having formed them- 
selves into an association in order to apply to 
the Legislature in behalf of American manu- 
factures, being stimulated thereto by a circular 
letter received from a committee of the trades- 
men and manufacturers of the town of Boston. 
Your petitioner, then residing in Baltimore 
(having been formerly brought up to the cot- 
ton manufactory, and willing to contribute 
what lay in his power to introduce said man- 
ufacture in America), did, at his own risk and 
expense, go to England in order to prepare 
the machines for carding and spinning cotton. 
That, after much difficulty, your petitioner 
found that he could only take descriptions and 
models of said engines ; with which he returned 


to Baltimore last summer. Soon after his ar- 
rival he found they were very dilatory about 
encouraging the matter, and with the advice of 
some friends he resolved to try what might 
be done in Boston." 

On this petition, — "with a view to encour- 
age the aforesaid manufacture, and to give the 
said Somers an opportunity to give specimens 
of his abilities to perfect the manufactures set 
forth in his said petition, — Resolved, that there 
be paid out' of the public treasury, by warrant 
from the governor and council, twenty pounds, 
lawful money, to be applied to the purposes 
aforesaid, which sum shall be deposited in the 
hands of Hugh Orr, Esq., of Bridgewater, who 
shall be a committee to superintend the appli- 
cation of the same." 

Passed March 8, 1787. 

By these proceedings it appears, that, in 1786 
and 1787, the Legislature of Massachusetts were 
taking active measures to encourage the intro- 
duction of cotton machinery, and that they 
had succeeded in obtaining machines and mod- 
els, probably including the roller-spinning and 
other improvements of Arkwright, which had 
then been but partially introduced in England, 
after the failure of his suit for establishing his 
rights against Colonel Mordaunt in 1781. — 
Another action, having been tried in 1785, re- 


suited in his favor; but that decision, waa soon 
reversed, so that his machinery was freely used 
within a few years of that time. 

It does not appear that the machinery at 
East Bridgewater was used to any extent for 
manufacturing purposes, but rather for models 
and to diffuse information upon the subject ; and 
the Legislature had provided in their resolve, 
— " that public notice be given for three weeks 
successively in Adam's and Nurse's newspaper, 
that said machines may be seen and examined 
at the house of the Hon. Hugh Orr in Bridge- 
water, and that the manner of working them 
will be explained." 

There is no doubt that the machinery at 
Bridgewater was the first built or introduced 
into this country for the manufacture of cotton, 
which included Arkwright's roller-spinning and 
other patent improvements. 

A factory was commenced at Beverly, in 
1787, expressly for the manufacture of cotton 
goods, with such machinery as could then be 
procured ; and finding the construction of the 
machinery very difficult and expensive, and the 
prospects very discouraging, they made appli- 
cation to the Legislature for aid, which in Feb- 
ruary, 1789, passed the following 

" Resolve for encouraging the Cotton Manu- 
factory at* Beverly,— Feb. 17, 1789. 


" Whereas it is essential to the true interests 
of this Commonwealth to encourage within the 
same the introduction and establishment of 
such manufactures as will give the most exten- 
sive and profitable employment to its citizens, 
and thereby, instead of those emigrations which 
are ruinous to the State, increase the number 
of manufacturers, who by consuming the pro- 
ductions of the soil will add to the value of it ; 
and Whereas, John Cabot and others, who have 
been incorporated by the name of ' The Pro- 
prietors of the Beverly Cotton Manufactory,' 
have set forth to this Court the difficulties and 
extraordinary expenses that attend the intro- 
duction of the Cotton Manufactory to be such 
as require the assistance of Government : For 
the support and encouragement of said manu- 
factory ; Be it Resolved, — That there be grant- 
ed, and there hereby is granted accordingly, 
and conveyed to John Cabot, Joshua Fisher, 
Henry Higginsou, Moses Brown, George Cabot, 
Andrew Cabot, Israel Thorndike, Isaac Chap- 
man, and Deborah Cabot, they being members 
of the said corporation, the value of Five hun- 
dred pounds, lawful mone}^ in specie, to be paid 
in the Eastern lands, the property of this Com- 
monwealth ; — the said lands to be valued, as- 
certained and conveyed by the Committee for 
the sale thereof; — to have and to hold the 


same, with the appurtenances, to them and 
their heirs and assigns forever, for their use as 
tenants in common in the proportion following, 
to wit : to the said John Cabot ten fortieth 
parts ; to the said Joshua Fisher nine fortieth 
parts; to the said Henry Higginson four for- 
tieth parts ; to the said Moses Brown four 
fortieth parts ; to the said George Cabot four 
fortieth parts ; to the said Andrew Cabot two 
fortieth parts; to the said Israel Thorndike 
four fortieth parts ; to the said Isaac Chapman 
one fortieth part ; and to the said Deborah 
Cabot two fortieth parts. Provided, however, 
that this resolve and the grant aforesaid shall 
be void, and the said land shall again revert to 
this Commonwealth, unless the said corporation 
or the said grantees, their heirs or assigns, shall 
manufacture, within seven years from the pas- 
sage of this Resolve, a quantity of cotton and 
linen piece-goods, of a quality usually imported 
into this Commonwealth, not less than fifty 
thousand of yards ; and shall keep in a book 
a full and true account of the several kinds and 
the quantity of each kind, and the value of the 
same, which account shall be verified by the 
testimony of at least two of the proprietors, on 
oath, and a fair copy thereof be lodged in the 
Secretary's office ; — or unless the said corpora- 
tion or the said grantees, their heirs or assigns, 


shall pay to the treasurer of this Commonwealth 
five hundred pounds in gold or silver, within 
eight years after the passing of this Resolve." 

At the same session of the Legislature an 
Act was passed to incorporate the " Beverly 
Manufacturing Company," authorized to hold 
personal property to the amount of £80,000, 
and real estate to the amount of £10,000, the 
same parties being named in the Act of incor- 
poration as in the Resolve above quoted, and 
also including the name of Thomas Somers, who 
had petitioned the Legislature in 1787 for aid 
in building cotton machinery from the designs 
he had brought from England. 

Besides the usual provisions in Acts of incor- 
poration, that for incorporating the Beverly 
Cotton Manufactory contained the following : 
" That all goods, which may be manufactured 
by said corporation, shall have a label of lead 
affixed to one end thereof, which shall have 
the same impression with the seal of the said 
corporation ; and that if any person shall 
knowingly use a like seal or label, with that 
used by said corporation, by annexing the 
same to any cotton, or cotton and linen goods 
not manufactured by said corporation, with a 
view of vending or disposing thereof as the 
proper manufactures of the said corporation, 
every person so offending shall forfeit and pay 


treble the value of such goods, to be sued for 
and recovered for the use of said corporation 
by action of debt in any court of record proper 
to try the same." 

It appears that the proprietors had not 
found the grant of land, before recited, avail- 
able for their purpose, and that in June, 1790, 
a petition was presented to the Legislature in 
their behalf, signed by John Cabot and Joshua 
Fisher, managers. They represent — 

" That they had expended about four thou- 
sand pounds, and that the present value of 
their stock was not equal to two thousand, 
and that a farther very considerable advance- 
ment is absolutely necessary ; that the intended 
aid by a grant of land made by a former legis- 
lature has not, in any degree, answered the 
purpose of it, and pray that in lieu of that 
grant some real and ready assistance may be 
afforded them." 

The petitioners state, as one of the public 
advantages to be derived from the manufac- 
ture of cotton, that the raw material is pro- 
cured (from the West Indies) in exchange 
for fish, "the most valuable export in posses- 
sion of the State." They mention the extraor- 
dinary cost of machines, intricate and difficult 
in their construction, without any model in 
the country, and instance a carding-machine 
that cost eleven hundred dollars. 


The petition was referred to a committee, 
of which Nathaniel Gorham was chairman, 
who reported, " that the petitioners have a 
grant of one thousand pounds, to be raised in 
a lottery, on condition that they give bonds 
that the money be actually appropriated in 
such a way as will most effectually promote 
the manufacturing of cotton piece-goods in 
this Commonwealth." 

This factory at Beverly was in operation at 
the time of Washington's visit to the North in 
1789, as appears by the following extract from 
his Diary: "Friday, 30th October. — A little 
after eight o'clock I set out (from Salem) for 
Newburyport, and in less than two miles 
crossed the bridge between Salem and Bev- 
erly, which makes a handsome appearance, 
and is upon the same plan of those over 
Charles and Mystic rivers, excepting that it 
has not footways, as that of the former has. 
The length of the bridge is 1530 feet, and was 
built for about £4500 lawful money, — a price 
inconceivably low in my estimation, as there is 
eighteen feet water in the deepest parts of the 
river, over which it is erected. The bridge 
is longer than that at Charlestown, but shorter 

by feet than the other over Mystic. All 

of them have drawbridges by which vessels 
pass. After passing Beverly two miles, we 


come to a cotton manufactory, which seems 
to be carrying on with spirit by the Cabots 
(principally). In this manufactory they have 
the new invented Carding and Spinning ma- 
chines. One of the first supplies the work, 
and four of the latter, one of which spins 84 
threads at a time by one person. The cotton 
is prepared for these machines by being first 
(lightly) drawn to a thread, on the common 
wheel. There is also another machine for 
doubling and twisting the threads for particu- 
lar cloths ; this also does many at a time. For 
winding the cotton from the spindles and pre- 
paring it for the warp, there is a reel, which 
expedites the work greatly. A number of 
looms (15 or 16) were at work with spring 
shuttles, which do more than double work. 
In short, the whole seemed perfect, and the 
cotton stuffs which they turn out excellent of 
their kind ; — warp and filling both cotton." 

Extract from Washington's Diary, — an edi- 
tion of which was privately printed, 185b, for 
Wm. J. Davis, New York. 

This factory was built of brick, and was con- 
tinued in operation to some extent for several 
years. It was driven by horse-paw cr ; and a 
gentleman is still living, who was, a few years 
ago, a member of Congress, and is yet an 
active octogenarian in government employ, 


and who remembers, when a boy, occasionally 
driving a pair of large bay horses to give mo- 
tion to the wheels. 

I have been thus particular in regard to the 
mill at Beverly, because it was the earliest 
enterprise undertaken and carried into execu- 
tion in this country for manufacturing cotton, 
and was certainly in operation some time be- 
fore 1789, though Governor Woodbury, who 
was of a Beverly family, says, in his famous 
report upon Cotton, — the first cotton factory built 
in the United States was at Providence in 1790. 

Mr. Samuel Witherill of Philadelphia was 
engaged at a very early period in commen- 
cing various manufacturing operations. An 
address was delivered by Tench Coxe to an 
assembly of the friends of American manufac- 
tures, convened for the purpose of establishing 
a Society for the Encouragement of the Useful Arts, 
August 9, 1787. The extent and success of 
the operations of this society for the first year 
may be seen by the report of the managers in 
August, 1788, signed by Samuel Witherill, 
Jr., Chairman, — in which it is stated that the 
amount of cash received from the contributors 
on the 23d of August was £1327 10s. 6d. j 
that they had purchased a quantity of flax, 
and employed between two and three hundred 
women in spinning linen yarn, and also en- 


gaged workmen to make a carding-engine, 
and four jennies, of forty, forty-four, sixty, and 
eighty spindles, for spinning cotton ; that, as 
soon as the season would permit the house to 
be fitted up, they were set to work, but, owing 
to various delays and obstructions thrown in 
their way by foreign agents, it was the 12th of 
April, 1788, before they began to weave, and 
on the 23d of August, 1788, they had made 
11,367 yards of various kinds of linen and cot- 
ton goods. 

In 1790 a person, who had been employed in 
the Beverly factory, was engaged to go to 
Norwich, Connecticut, to put in operation some 
cotton machinery, which was understood to 
be similar to that used at Beverly. This ma- 
chinery was not built in this country, but was 
supposed to have been imported, by some 
means, from England. The parties engaged 
in the business at Norwich were Mr. Hunting- 
ton, Dr. Lathrop, and others. This Dr. Lathrop 
was the same in whose druggist's shop Bene- 
dict Arnold is said to have been employed, 
before the Revolutionary War. — See Spar/es's 
American Biography, Vol. III. 

Another cotton mill in Connecticut was built 
in the west part of New Haven, in 1794, by 
John R Livingston and David Dickson, of New 
York. Previous to this time they had a small 


mill not far from Hurlgate, on the New York 
side ; — the machinery was moved to New 
Haven, and was in full operation in 1795. In 
1807 this was converted into a woollen-mill, 
and since into a paper-mill. 

In 1806 General Humphrey built his mill 
at Derby (since Humphreysville), both for 
cotton and woollen. 

William Pollard of Philadelphia obtained a 
patent for cotton-spinning, Dec. 30, 1791, 
which was the first water-frame put in motion 
in Pennsylvania. Whether he obtained his 
patterns direct from England, or by the way 
of Providence, is not certain, or whether the 
machinery was capable of being put in success- 
ful operation may be doubtful, for the business 
failed at a time when the machinery of Slater 
was producing great profits. It was, however, 
an early attempt at the introduction of water- 
spinning in that part of the country, and its 
want of success probably retarded the prog- 
ress of cotton-spinning in Philadelphia. Some 
accounts say the mill was burned. 

In 1808 the Globe factory, with a capital 
of *<S0,000, was established under Dr. Redman 
Coxe, of Philadelphia. 

The Arkwright machinery was introduced 
very early, at Copp's Creek, Delaware, by 
Goodfellow ; also at Kirkinill, near Wilmington. 


A magnificent scheme was projected for a 
manufacturing establishment at Paterson, New 
Jersey, and a charter was obtained through 
the interest of Alexander Hamilton, granting, 
it is said, besides the usual powers of a manu- 
facturing corporation, banking privileges, and 
the corporate powers of a city. A number of 
individuals from New York, New Jersey, and 
Pennsylvania had associated and raised a cap- 
ital of about two hundred thousand dollars, 
and obtained extensive rights in the Great 
Falls of the Passaic. They were incorporated 
by the Legislature of New Jersey, November 
22, 1791, by the name of "The Society for 
the Establishment of Useful Manufactures," and 
the Company was organized at New Brunswick 
during the same month. In May, 1792, they 
selected the site for their operations, and on 
the fourth of July made appropriations for 
building factories, machine shops, and print- 
works, and for the extensive use of water- 
power from the Passaic falls. 

The construction of their canals was confided 
to Major L'Enfant,* a French engineer, whose 
gigantic schemes were far ^beyond the pecu- 

* The same who was originally employed by Gen. Washing- 
ton to survey and lay out the City of Washington, but who had 
some difficulty with the Commissioners before the business was 
finished. — Sparks's Life of Washington, Vol. X. p. 204. 


niary means of the Company, so that in 1793 
the business was put under the charge of Peter 
Colt, then Comptroller of the State of Connec- 
ticut, who completed the watercourses, and 
built a factory, in which they commenced 
spinning cotton yarn in 1794. 

In the life of Samuel Slater a very partic- 
ular account is given, by William Anthony, 
of the first attempts to introduce cotton ma- 
chinery at Providence. He says : " About the 
year 1788 Daniel Anthony, Andrew Dexter, 
and Lewis Peck, all of Providence, entered into 
an agreement to make what was then called 
homespun cloth. The idea at first was to spin 
by hand, and make jeans with linen warp and 
cotton filling ; but hearing that Mr. Orr of 
Bridgewater, Mass., had imported some models 
of machinery from England for the purpose 
of spinning cotton, it was agreed that Daniel 
Anthony should go to Bridgewater and get a 
draft of the model of said machine. He, in 
company with John Reynolds of East Green- 
wich, who had been doing something in the 
manufacturing of wool, went to Bridgewater 
and found the model of the machine spoken 
of in possession of Mr. Orr, but not in oper- 
ation. It was not the intention of Mr. Orr to 
operate it, but he only kept it for the inspec- 
tion of those who might have an inclination 
to take drafts." 


This model of the machine was very imper- 
fect, and was said to be taken from one of the 
first built in England. A draft of this machine 
was accordingly taken, and laid aside for a 
while. They then proceeded to build a ma- 
chine of a different construction, called a jenny. 
I understood that a model of this machine was 
brought from England into Beverly, Massa- 
chusetts, by a man by the name of * Summers. 
This jenny had twenty-eight spindles, .... 
was finished in 1787. t It was first set up in 
a private house, and afterwards removed to 
the market-house chamber in Providence, and 
operated there. 

Joshua Lindly of Providence was then en- 
gaged to build a carding-machine for carding 
the cotton, agreeably to the draft presented, 
obtained also from Beverly. This machine 

* We here trace to Beverly the Thomas Soyners who went to 
England from Baltimore, in 1785, for the purpose of procuring 
the English machinery, and to whom the grant of £20 was made 
by the Legislature of Massachusetts, March 8, 1787, to be ex- 
pended under the direction of Mr. Orr. 

f There must be a mistake in the year, as he says above that 
Dexter and others, for whom this machinery was built, entered 
into their agreement about 1 788. This should be, in all probabil- 
ity, 1 789, for the time when the jenny was finished. A further 
confirmation of this date is that Somers received from the Legis- 
lature of Massachusetts, March 8, 1787, a grant to enable him 
to complete his models ; and it must have been after this time 
that he builfrthe machines at Beverly from which those at Provi- 
dence were designed. 


was something similar to the one now used 
for carding wool, the cotton being taken off 
the machine in rolls, and roped by hand. After 
some delay this machine was finished. They 
then proceeded to build a spinning-frame after 
the draft obtained at Bridgewater. This ma- 
chine was something similar to the water-frame 
now in use, but very imperfect. It consisted 
of eight heads of four spindles each, — being 
thirty-two spindles in all, — and was operated 
by a crank turned by hand The spin- 
ning-frame, after being tried some time in 
Providence, was carried to Pawtucket and 
attached to a wheel propelled by water. The 
work of turning the machine was too laborious 
to be done by hand, and the machine was too 
imperfect to be turned by water. Soon after 
this the machine was sold to Mr. Moses Brown 
of Providence ; but as all the carding and 
roping was done by hand, it was very imper- 
fect, and but little could be done. 

This was the situation of cotton manufac- 
turing in Ehode Island when Mr. Samuel 
Slater arrived in this country ; — then all 
this imperfect machinery was thrown aside, 
and machinery more perfect built under his 

The spinning machinery described as build- 
ing at Philadelphia was stated to be four 


.spinning-jennies of forty, forty-four, sixty, and 
eighty spindles. That at Beverly is supposed 
to be of the same character, and that also 
which was put in operation at the market- 
house in Providence, which is described as a 
jenny with twenty-eight spindles, built after 
the model of that at Beverly, and which Mr. 
Anthony states to be on a different construc- 
tion from the one at Bridgewater. So that in 
all these cases it is very evident that spinning 
by the jenny alone was attempted. But the 
spinning-machine built after the model of that 
in the possession of Mr. Orr, and built by Barr, 
appears to have been an attempt to introduce 
the Arkwright machinery. Mr. Anthony de- 
scribes it as similar to the water-frame now 
in use ; says it consisted of eight heads, of four 
spindles each ; that it was operated by a 
crank, in neither of which particulars would 
it agree with the jenny, or any other spinning- 
machine known to have been in use ; but the 
description, as far as it goes, would apply to 
the Arkwright spinning-frame, though he omits 
the great feature of Arkwright's spinning, the 
drawing or extension of the thread by means 
of rollers. 

It is possible that Robert and Alexander 
Barr may have obtained such a knowledge of 
Arkwright's machinery after the failure of his 


suit iu 1781, that they thought themselves 
able to construct his water-frame. 

Samuel Slater at the age of twenty-one 
sailed from London on the 13th of September, 
J 789, and arrived at New York in November. 
He seems to have had a design of coming to 
America for some time, and what finally deter- 
mined him was his observing in a Philadelphia 
paper a reward offered by a society for a ma- 
chine to make cotton rollers. * We see here, I 
suppose, the effect of an advertisement of the 
" Pennsylvania Society for promoting the useful 
Arts" mentioned above. 

Soon after his arrival in New York, he wrote 
to Moses Brown as follows : — 

" New York, December 2, 1 789. 

" Sir : A few days ago I was informed that 
you wanted a manager of cotton spinning, in 
which business I flatter myself that I can give 
the greatest satisfaction in making machinery, 
making as good yarn, either for stockings or 
twist, as any that is made in England, as I 
have had opportunity and an oversight of Sir 
Richard Arkwright's works, and in Mr. Strutt's 
mill upwards of eight years. If you are not 
provided for, should be glad to serve you; 

* Probably this was intended to indicate a machine for roller- 


though I am in the New York manufactory, 
and have been for three weeks, since I arrived 
from England. But we have only one card, 
two machines, two spinning-jennies, which I 
think are not worth using. My encourage- 
ment is pretty good, but should much rather 
have the care of perpetual carding and spinning. 
My intention is to erect a perpetual card and 
spinning (meaning the Arkwright patents). If 
you please to drop a line respecting the amount 
of encouragement you wish to give, by favor 
of Captain Brown, you will much oblige, sir, 
"Your most obedient humble servant, 
"Samuel Slater. 
" Please direct to me at No. 37 Golden Hill." 

The reply of Mr. Brown is given as follows: — 

" Providence, 10 — 12th Month, 1781. 

" Friend : I received thine of the 2d, and 
observe its contents. I, or rather Aliny and 
Brown, who have the business in the cotton 

line, want the assistance of a person 

skilled in the frame- or water-spinning. An ex- 
periment has been made, which has failed, no 
person being acquainted with the business, and 
the frames imperfect. Thy being already en- 
gaged in a factory with many able proprietors, 
we can hardly expect we can give thee en- 
couragement adequate to leaving thy present 


employ. As the frame we have is the first 
attempt of the kind that has been made in 
America, it is too imperfect to afford much 
encouragement. We hardly know what to say 
to thee, but if thou thought thou could'st per- 
fect and conduct them to profit, if thou wilt 
come and do it, thou shalt have all the profits 
made of them, over and above the interest of 
the money they cost and the wear and tear of 
them. We will find stock and be repaid in 
yarn, as we may agree for six months, and this 
we do for the information thou canst give if 

fully acquainted with the business If 

thy present situation does not come up to 
what thou wishest, and from thy knowledge 
can be ascertained of the advantages of the 
mills so as to induce thee to come and work 
ours and have the credit as well as the advan- 
tage of perfecting the first water-mill in Amer- 
ica, we should be glad to engage thy care, so 
long as they can be made profitable to both, 
and we can agree. 

" I am, for myself and Almy & Brown, 
" Thy friend, 

"Moses Brown." 

The following appears as an extract from a 
letter to Slater under the same date, Avhich 
gives some particulars of the cotton machinery 


at Providence before the arrival of Slater. 
- We have two machines of this kind, one of 
thirty-two spindles, and one of twenty-four. 
The}' have been worked, and spun about one 
hundred and fifty skeins of cotton yarn, from 
five to eight skeins (of fifteen lays round a reel 
of two yards) to the pound. But the person 
we let the mill to being unacquainted with the 
business, and the mill probably not perfected, 
he could not make wages in attending them, 
and therefore they are at present still. We 
then wrought hand-roping, as the carding ma- 
chine was not in order. We have since got a 
jenny, and are putting on fine cards to the ma- 
chine. These, with one eighty-four and a sixty 
spinning-jenny, and a doubling and twisting 
jenny, compose the principal machinery about 
our factory." 

In consequence of this correspondence, Sla- 
ter soon left New York and came to Provi- 
dence. A letter from Smith Wilkinson, " Life 
of Slater," p. 76, gives an account of his first 
visit to Pawtucket, and some particulars of the 
manufacturing business. He says : tt Samuel 
Slater came to Pawtucket early in January 
1790, in company with Moses Brown, William 
Almy, Obadiah Brown, and Smith Brown, 
who did a small business in Providence at 
manufacturing on billies and jennies driven 


by men, as were also the carding-machines. . . . 
There was a spinning-frame in the building, 
which used to stand on the southwest abut- 
ment of Pawtucket bridge, which "was started 
for trial (after it was built for Andrew Dexter 
and Lewis Peck) by Joseph and Richard An- 
thony, but the machine was very imperfect and 
made very uneven yarn. The cotton for this 
experiment was carded by hand, and roped on 
a woollen wheel by a female." 

" Mr. Slater entered into a contract with 
William Almy and Smith Brown, and com- 
menced building a water-frame of twenty-four 
spindles, two carding-machines, and the draw- 
ing and roping frames necessary to prepare for 
the spinning, and soon after added a frame of 
forty-eight spindles. He commenced [spin- 
ning?] some time in the fall of 1790, or early 
in 1791. I was then in my tenth year, and 
went to work for him, and began at tending; 
the breaker. The mode of laying the cotton 
was by the hand, taking up a handful and pull- 
ing it apart with both hands, and shifting it all 
into the right hand, to get the staple of the 
cotton straight, and fix the handful so as to 
hold it firm, and then applying it to the surface 
of the breaker, moving the hand horizontally 
across the card to and fro, until the cotton was 
fully prepared." 


The description of this operation shows the 
rude state of the Arkwright machinery as in- 
troduced by Slater at that time. 

A letter from Moses Brown of the 19th of 
April, 1791, addressed to Moses Brown of Bev- 
erly, " To be communicated to the proprietors 
of the Beverly factory," says: "I have for some 
time thought of addressing the Beverly manu- 
facturers on the subject of an application to 
Congress for some encouragement to the cot- 
ton manufacture by an additional duty on the 
cotton goods imported, and the applying such 
duty as a bounty, partly for raising and soring 
cotton in the Southern States, of a quality and clean- 
ness suitable to be tvrought by machines,* and partly 
as a bounty on cotton goods of the kind manu- 
factured in the United States ; . . . . and it is 
the desire of those concerned this way, that 
you, being the first and largest, would take the 
lead, and devise such plan as may be most eli- 
gible to effect the purpose. Almy and Brown, 
who conduct the business of the cotton manu- 
factory, with an English workman from Ark- 

* When Slater first began to spin, he used Cayenne and Suri- 
nam cotton, but after a few years he began to mix about one third 
of Southern cotton ; and this yarn was designated as second quality 
and sold at a price accordingly. 

Hamilton, in his report on manufactures, says : " The extensive 
cultivation of cotton can perhaps hardly be expected, but from the 
previous establishment of domestic manufactories of the article." 


wright's works, have completed the water spin- 
ning machines to the perfection to make the 
enclosed yarn, — the former mills, which I had 
purchased, made from the States model at 
Bridgewater, proving not to answer." 

Another letter from Moses Brown, of October 
15, 1791, addressed to John Dexter, gives an 
account of the early proceedings in Ehode 
Island in manufacturing, as follows : " In the 
spring of 1789, some persons in Providence 
had procured to be made a carding-machine, a 
jenny, and a spinning-frame to work by hand, 
after the manner of Arkwright's invention, 
taken principally from models belonging to 
the State of Massachusetts, which were made 
at their expense by two persons from Scotland, 
who took their ideas from observation and not 
from experience in the business. These ma- 
chines, made here, not answering the purpose 
and expectation of the proprietors, and I being 
desirous of perfecting them, if possible, and the 
business of the cotton manufacture, so as to be 
useful to the country, I purchased them, and 
by great alterations the carding-machine and 
jenny were made to answer. The frames, with 
one other, on nearly the same construction, 
made from the same model, and tried without 
success at East Greenwich, which I also pur- 
chased, I attempted to set to work by water, 


and made a little yarn, so as to answer for 
warps ; but being so imperfect, both as to qual- 
ity and quantity of the yarn, their use was 
suspended until I could procure a person who 
had wrought or seen them wrought in Europe. 

" Late in the fall I received a letter from a 
3^oung man, then lately arrived at New York, 
from Ark wright's works in England, informing 
me of his situation, that he could hear of no 
perpetual spinning mills on the continent but 
mine, and proposed to come and work them. 
I wrote him, and he came accordingly ; but on 
viewing the mills, he declined doing anything 
with them, and proposed making a new one, 
using such parts of the old as would answer." . . 

He proceeds to say that they contracted 
with him " to direct and make a mill in his 
own way, which he did." 

From the foregoing it appears very evident 
that all the first cotton machinery introduced 
at Beverly, Providence, Paterson, and Philadel- 
phia, was confined to the spinning-jenny, and 
such improvements as had been introduced be- 
fore the invention of Arkwright, and that the 
first Arkwright machinery was that built by 
Barr at Bridgewater, which was probabty too 
imperfect to be put to any profitable use, so 
that to Slater justly belongs the credit of the 
successful introduction of the Arkwright ma- 


chinery, and the establishment of the cotton 
manufacture in this country. 

The second cotton mill built by Mr. Slater, 
called the "White Mill," was within the limits 
of Massachusetts, on the east side of Pawtucket 
River, in what was then the town of Rehoboth. 
At the session of the Massachusetts Legislature 
in June 1799, — "on the petition of Samuel 
Slater, stating his intention to establish a cot- 
ton mill in Rehoboth," — an Act was passed, 
providing "that all buildings that may be 
erected in said town for the purpose of a cot- 
ton mill, together with the materials and stock 
employed in the manufacture of cotton, be, and 
the same are hereby exempted from taxes of 
every kind, during the term of seven years 
from the first day of April next." (Passed 
June 22, 1799.) This was the first mill on the 
Arkwright system erected in Massachusetts, 
and must be the same referred to in the Life 
of Slater, where it is stated that in 1798 he 
entered into partnership with Oziel Wilkinson, 
Timothy Green, and William Wilkinson, and 
built a second mill on the east side of Paw- 
tucket River; — and though the Act was passed 
in 1799, the building may have been in prog- 
ress in 1798. 

Until this time the business had been con- 
fined to Mr. Slater and his associates, but soon 


after this, it is stated that several of his men, 
who had become acquainted with the construc- 
tion of his machinery, left his employment and 
commenced the erection of mills for themselves 
or other parties. Mr. Benj. S. Wolcott was em- 
ployed by Mr. Slater in the construction of his 
first mill. After acquiring sufficient knowledge 
of the business, he united with Rufus and Elisha 
Waterman, for the purpose of erecting a cotton 
factory in Cumberland, about 1801. The ma- 
chinery was afterwards removed to Central 
Falls, a short distance above Pawtucket, and a 
new company formed, with the addition of Mr. 
Stephen Jenks. 

Another of his workmen by the name of 
Bobbins commenced a mill in New Ipswich, 
which was put in operation in 1804, being the 
first cotton mill built in New Hampshire. 

The " History of Rehoboth," which should 
be the best authority on the subject, says : 
" The first cotton factory that was erected 
upon the east side of the river in the village 
of Pawtucket was the 'Yellow Mill,' built in 
1805." The first cotton mill on the east side 
of the river, and in Massachusetts, was that 
before mentioned in 1798, or 1799, — and the 
second mill was built there in 1805 ; for I find 
an Act passed by the Legislature of Massachu- 
setts, June 14, 1805, providing "that all the 


buildings that are or may be erected in the 
town of Rehoboth by Eliphalet Slack, Oliver 
Starkweather, Eleaser Tyler, 2d, Elijah Ingra- 
ham. and others, for the purpose of establishing 
a cotton manufactory in said town, and all the 
materials and stock to be employed in the 
manufacture of cotton, be, and the same are 
hereby exempted from all taxes of every kind 
for and during the term of five years, from and 
after the passing of this Act." 

In one of these early mills at Pawtucket, B. 
S. Wblcott, Jr. was employed, who with the as- 
sistance of his father, in 1807 or 1808, built 
the first cotton mill in Oneida County, New 
York, four miles west of Utica. Some years 
later, Mr. Wolcott, associated with Benj. and 
Joseph Marshall, formerly English merchants in 
New York, erected the "New York Mills." Mr, 
Gallatin, in his report on manufactures, April 17, 
1810, is probably mistaken in saying "after the 
first cotton mill was erected in Rhode Island in 
1791 3 another in the same State was built in 
1795, and two more in the State of Massachu- 
setts in 1803 and 1804." He may be more 
correct in what follows : " During the three 
succeeding years, ten were erected or com- 
menced in Rhode Island, and one in Connec- 
ticut, making altogether fifteen mills erected 
before the year 1808, working, at that time 


8,000 spindles. Returns have been received of 
87 mills, which were erected at the end of the 
year 1809, sixty-two of which were in opera- 
tion, and worked 31,000 spindles, and the other 
twenty-five will be in operation in the course 
of the year 1810." 

The first cotton mill in the vicinity of Bos- 
ton, and the first in Massachusetts after that 
built by Slater at Rehoboth, was a small estab- 
lishment on Bass River in Beverly, which was 
in operation in the fall of 1801, or early in 
1802, with six water frames, of seventy-two 
spindles each. The machinery was built at 
Paterson, New Jersey, by a man of the name of 
Clark, who came to Beverly to put it in opera- 
tion. The business was unsuccessful on ac- 
count of the insufficiency of the water-power 
and other causes, and the mill continued in 
operation but two or three years. Thus it ap- 
pears that Beverly, though never engaged in 
the cotton manufacture very extensively or 
with much profit, was the pioneer in the busi- 
ness, not only in building the first factory in 
1787, but the first after Slater in extending the 
use of the Arkwright machinery in Massa- 

In 1806 John Slater, the brother of Samuel, 
had arrived from England, and united with 
Samuel and otfiers in building, at Smithfield, 


the establishment now called Slatersville. He 
removed to this place in Jime 1806, and took 
charge of the concern; and in the spring of 1807 
the works were sufficiently advanced to com- 
mence spinning. 

In 1807, Mr. Zachariah Allen estimated the 
whole number of spindles in operation in the 
United States at about four thousand. 

By this time the manufacturing of cotton 
was extending itself, and factories were built in 
many of the towns near Providence, both in 
Massachusetts and Rhode Island, so that in 
1809, according to Benedict's "History of Rhode 
Island," there were seventeen cotton mills in 
operation within the town of Providence and its 
vicinity, working 14,296 spindles, and at the 
commencement of the war with Great Britain, 
in 1812, there were said to be, within thirty 
miles of Providence in the State of 

Rhode Island, 33 factories, 30,660 spindles, 
Massachusetts, 20 " 17,370 " 

making 53 u with 48,030 " 

The statistics of Tench Coxe, from the census 
of 1810, give for the State of Rhode Island — 

Cotton factories, 28; spindles, 21,178. 

According to an account taken by John H. 
Pitman, of Providence, there were in the State 
of Rhode Island in 1810 thirty-nine factories, 


in which were more than thirty thousand spin- 

Soon after 1806 a number of factories were 
built in various parts of Massachusetts. 

February 27, 1807, an exemption from taxes 
for five years was granted by Act of the Legis- 
lature for a cotton mill, erected at Watertown 
by Seth Bemis and Jeduthan Fuller. 

June 20, 1807, a factory was incorporated at 

March 12, 1808, the Norfolk . Cotton Manu- 
factory at Dedham was incorporated. 

An association was formed January 1, 1811, 
for building a mill at Dorchester with two thou- 
sand spindles, and incorporated June 13, 1811, 
with a capital of $60,000. 

February 23, 1813, an Act was passed to in- 
corporate the Boston Manufacturing Company, 
better known as the Waltham Company, for 
the " purpose of manufacturing cotton, wool- 
len, or linen goods." Instead of the customary 
designation of their place of business in the 
Act of incorporation, it authorizes them to con- 
duct their business at Boston in the County of 
Suffolk, or within fifteen miles thereof, or at 
any other place or places, not exceeding four. 
Capital, $400,000. 

The business was commenced in New Hamp- 
shire, as before stated, at New Ipswich in 1804. 


The original proprietors of the first mill were 
Ephraim Hartwell, Charles Barrett, and Ben- 
jamin Champnev. 

In 1807 another mill was commenced upon 
the same stream, the Souhegan, by Seth Nason, 
Jesse Holton, and Samuel Batchelder, and put 
in operation in 1808. These were the first cot- 
ton mills built in the State of New Hampshire, 
and contained about five hundred spindles 
each. In 1805 the Legislature granted to the 
proprietors of the first mill an exemption from 
taxes for five years, and in 1808 the same ex- 
emption to the proprietors of the second mill.* 

In December 1808, the Legislature of New 
Hamphire, by a general law, granted the same 
encouragement to those who should erect works 
for the manufacture of cotton, wool, salt, or 
glass. At the same session Acts were passed 
for the incorporation of the Peterborough Cot- 
ton Manufactory, and for the Exeter Cotton 
Manufactory. In 1809 were incorporated the 
second Peterborough Cotton Factory, and an- 
other in Chesterfield. 

In 1810, one was incorporated in Milford. 
one in Swanzey, one in Cornish, one in Pem- 
broke, and one at Amoskeag Falls. 

In 1811, one at Walpole, one at Hillsbor- 
OUgh, one at Meredith, and also a third at 
* History of New Ipswich, \<p. 224, 225. 



Peterborough. Most of these mills went into 
operation within about a year from the time of 
their incorporation, so that at the commence- 
ment of the war with Great Britain, in 1812, 
there were, probably fifteen cotton mills in 
operation in New Hampshire, averaging not 
more than 500 spindles in each, or not more 
than six or seven thousand in all. 

The first cotton mill in the State of Maine, 
then comprised in Massachusetts, was built at 
Brunswick in 1809, and soon after, another was 
erected at Gardiner. 

Tench Coxe, in his report of the census of 
1810, gives the number of cotton factories in 
New Hampshire at twelve, of which eight were 
in the County of Hillsborough. 

The number given in other States was as 
follows : — 









Rhode Island, 








New York, 




New Jersey, 




None in any other State. 

All the factories built before the war of 1812 
were built after the plan first introduced by 
Slater, with very little modification. His spin- 
ning was what was usually denominated the 
water-frame, built in separate sections of eight 


spindles each; but before 1808, when the second 
mill was built in New Hampshire, the spinning- 
frame, denominated the throstle, had been intro- 
duced and was adopted in this mill. 

By this time the business had been com- 
menced in a small way in several parts of New 
England, and the population were beginning to 
acquire some skill in the various operations of 
building machinery and its use. About 1807 
and 1808, the embarrassments of commerce, 
the restrictions upon the importation of goods, 
and the consequent advance in prices, gave an 
impulse to the production of all such articles 
as could be manufactured here, to take the 
place of imported goods, particularly of cotton ; 
and in 1812 there were said to be nearly forty 
cotton mills in Rhode Island, with about 30,000 
spindles, and about thirty mills in Massachu- 
setts within thirty miles of Providence, with 
about 18,000 spindles, amounting in the whole 
to 48,000 spindles. 

The war with Great Britain in 1812 raised 
the price of goods to such extravagant rates, 
that articles of cotton, such as had been pre- 
viously imported from England at seventeen to 
twenty cents per yard, were sold by the pack- 
age ;it seventy-five cents. 

This state of things stimulated the building 
of cotton factories to such a degree, that a list 


of the mills in and near Providence, including 
a number in Massachusetts at the close of the 
war, makes the number of mills 96, and of spin- 
dles 65,264, being an average of 680 spindles 
to a mill, eighteen of the whole number having 
less than 300 spindles each, and the largest, 
that of Almy, Brown, & Slater, 5,170 spin-, 

A memorial to Congress, from the manufac- 
turers of Providence in 1815, estimates * the 
number of mills within thirty miles of that 
town at 140, and the number of spindles at 
130,000. But the most reliable statement of 
the extent of the business at that time is a list 
of the cotton mills in Rhode Island, and the 
adjoining parts of Massachusetts and Connec- 
ticut, lately communicated to the "Rhode Island 
Society for the Encouragement of Domestic 
Industry," by Samuel Green, Esq., of Woon- 
socket. It was compiled by a committee of 
manufacturers in 1815, for the purpose of mak- 
ing an assessment on each mill, to pay the ex- 
penses of sending an agent to Washington, to 
attend to the interests of the manufacturers at 
the approaching session of Congress, and bears 
the signature of John H. Clark, Secretary, 
James Burrill, Chairman, and Amasa Mason, 

* This estimate is said to have been made under the direction 
of Mr. Burrill, a member of the Senate. 


Philip Allen, and Samuel W. Green, Assessors. 
The number of mills and spindles given in 

Rhode Island are: mills, 99; spindles, 68,142. 
Massachusetts, " 52; " 39,468. 

Connecticut, " 14; " 11,700. 

Making in the whole, " 165; " 119,310. 

A report of the Committee on Manufactures 
to Congress, in 1815, gives the following partic- 
ulars of the cotton manufacture in the United 

Capital, $40,000,000 

Males employed of the age of 17 and upwards, 10,000 

Boys under seventeen, 24,000 

Women and female children, 66,000 

Wages of 100,000, averaging 81.50 per week, 815,000,000 

Cotton manufactured, 90,000 bales, = 27,000,000 lbs. 

Number of yards,' 81,000,000 

Cost, averaging 30 cents per yard, - 824,300,000. 

When the importation of goods was recom- 
menced at the close of the war, the sudden 
reduction of prices was destructive to all man- 
ufacturing operations. The business, that had 
been carried on during the war without much 
skill or economy, was prostrated, and the estab- 
lishments that had been built up at an extrava- 
gant expense became worthless. 

For the purpose of protecting this interest 
which was supposed to have some claim upon 
the country on account of the aid afforded dur- 


ing the war, the tariff of 1816 was passed by 

This measure was supported and advocated 
by Southern politicians, on the ground of en- 
couraging the manufacture of our own cotton, 
instead of importing cotton goods from India, 
or those made from foreign cotton. On the 
contrary, it met with decided opposition from 
the people of the North, where navigation and 
commerce had been the favorite pursuits; and 
resuming their usual occupations and course of 
business, at the close of the war, they were dis- 
posed to look with an unfavorable eye upon the 
growth of a branch of business which it was sup- 
posed would interrupt the operations of foreign 
trade, and they were, of course, opposed to the 
tariff for the encouragement of manufactures; — 
but so much capital had been embarked in mills 
and machinery, and so many parties had be- 
come interested in their operation, that with 
the encouragement of the tariff great efforts 
were made to continue the business. Until this 
time the operation of cotton factories had been 
confined to the production of yarn, which was 
woven upon the hand-loom. 

The power-loom had come into use to some 
extent in England previous to the commence- 
ment of the war of 1812. 

The first attempt to weave by machinery was 


made by M. De Gennes. His loom is described 
in the "Philosophical Transactions" in the year 
1700. About 1765 a weaving factory driven 
by water, was built by Mr. Garside of Man- 
chester. It was furnished with swivel looms, 
probably those invented by M. Vaucanson and 
described in the " Encyclopedic Methodique" It 
was worked for a considerable time, but with 
no advantage, one man being required for each 
loom. (Guest, Hist. p. 44.) 

Experiments had been made with various 
success, for several years, principally in Scot- 
land, for the purpose of weaving by power. 
The power-loom, patented by Cartwright in 
1785. was put in operation at Doncaster, but 
was unsuccessful. Another mill, with five hun- 
dred looms upon the same plan, was built at 
Manchester by Mr. Grimshaw in 1790. but was 
destroyed by a mob. 

In Rees's Cyclopedia, article Weaving, is a very 
elaborate account of a loom invented by Mr. 
Austin of Glasgow, in 1789, and so far per- 
fected in 1798, that it was put in operation at 
Mr. Monteith's mill, near Glasgow, — with what 
success does not appear. 

A patent for a power-loom was taken by 
Miller in 1796, and another by Mr. Toad of 
Boulton in 1803. William Horrocks of Stock- 
port took patents for a power-loom in 1803, 


and 1805, and for further improvements in 
1813. This has now come into general use 
as the crank, or Scotch loom, and seems to 
have been the first that was put in operation 
with any success. 

After the power-loom was so far perfected as 
to be capable of weaving, there was great de- 
lay in putting it in operation, for want of suit- 
able machinery for dressing and preparing the 
warps. The great obstacle was, that it was 
necessary to stop the loom frequently, in order 
to dress the warp, as it unrolled from the beam, 
which operation required a man to be em- 
ployed for each loom, so that there was no 
saving of expense. 

To remedy this difficulty, Radcliff and Ross 
took patents, in 1804, for a dressing-machine, 
which to some extent supplied the deficiency. 

Horrocks and Radcliff, sharing the common 
destiny of inventors, failed. This with other 
causes retarded the adoption of these machines, 
so that it is supposed that in 1813 there were 
not more than 100 dressers, and 2400 power- 
looms in use, in England and Scotland. Yet 
this was enough to alarm the hand-loom weav- 
ers, who, attributing to machinery the distress 
caused by the Orders in Council and the Amer- 
ican war, made riotous opposition to all new 
machines, and broke the power-looms set up at 


West Houghton, Midclleton, and other places. 
(Barnes, p. 235.) 

From the time that the manufacture of cot- 
ton yarn began to be extended in this country, 
many attempts were made to construct ma- 
chinery to weave by power. As early as 1806, 
a loom was built at Exeter, New Hampshire, by 
T. M. Mussey, which, as an experiment, would 
perform all the operations of weaving, but 
could not be called a labor-saving machine. 
Experiments were continued with great perse- 
verance upon this loom until 1809, but I am 
not aware that the web, or the machine, was 
ever completed. 

About the same time an attempt was also 
made at Dorchester. In this loom, the warp, 
instead of a horizontal, was in a perpendicular 
position, — in this respect resembling that pat- 
ented by Johnson of Preston, England, in 1805, 
and that invented by Cartwright in 1785. I 
saw another in operation at Dedhain in 1809, 
which was capable of weaving about twenty 
yards of coarse cloth per day, but none of these, 
though very ingenious experiments, were capa- 
ble of being put in operation with such econ- 
omy as to supersede the old process of hand- 

During the few years of restriction upon 
importations, in 1809-10 and 11, and the war 


of 1812, such was the increased demand for any 
manufactures of cotton that could be produced 
by hand-looms, or by all the machinery then in 
operation for spinning, that little was thought 
of improvements or new inventions. This state 
of things continued in this country until the 
enterprise of Mr. Francis C. Lowell, Mr. Nathan 
Appleton, and their associates resulted in the 
successful establishment of the power-loom 
weaving at Waltham in 1814, of which such 
an interesting account has been given by Mr. 
Appleton in his " Introduction of the Power 
Loom, and Origin of Lowell," and also in the 
Memoir of Mr. Appleton, prepared for the Mas- 
sachusetts Historical Society by Hon. Robert 
C. Winthrop. 

The fact of the employment of the power- 
loom, successfully and extensively, in Great 
Britain was known in this country, but it was 
very difficult to obtain any accurate informa- 
tion upon the subject, and impossible to get 
any reliable knowledge of the construction of 
the loom on account of the restrictions upon 
the exportation of machinery, and the jealousy 
of communicating the plans of any of their 
manufacturing operations. 

According to Mr. Appleton, (Introduction of 
the Power Loom,) the attention of Mr. Francis 
C. Lowell and himself was directed to this sub- 


ject when they met in Edinburgh, in 1811, and 
Mr. Lowell determined, in accordance with Mr. 
Appleton's advice, to visit Manchester before 
his return to America, for the purpose of ob- 
taining all possible information on the subject, 
with a view to the introduction of the im- 
proved manufacture in the United States. Mr. 
Lowell returned in 1813, bringing, without 
doubt, a better knowledge of the manufactur- 
ing operations of Great Britain than was pos- 
sessed by any other person in this country, 
and which enabled him and his associates to 
establish the improved manufacturing system at 
Waltham, the incidents connected with which 
are detailed in the interesting pamphlet men- 
tioned above. 

Before 1810 it is supposed that power-looms 
were in successful operation in Scotland, as Mr. 
Lowell and Mr. Appleton mention them in their 
visit to Edinburgh in 1811, but in England it 
would seem they were more dilatory in adopt- 
ing these improvements. An article in the 
"London Quarterly Review," published in 1825, 
says, with reference to the rapid increase of the 
town of Manchester, "At this moment there are 
upwards of thirty thousand looms worked by 
steam-engines. At the close of the year 1811 
there was not one in use." 

But the author of that article was under a 


great mistake. " A factory for steam-looms 
was built at Manchester in 1806. Soon after- 
wards two others were erected at Stockport; 
and, about 1809, a fourth was completed at 
West Houghton. In 1818 there were at Man- 
chester and the vicinity fourteen factories, con- 
taining about two thousand looms; and in 1821 
thirty-two factories containing 5732 looms ; and 
the number has been still further increased, so 
that there are at present (1823) not less than 
10,000 steam-looms at work in Great Britain." 
(History of the Cotton Manufacture, by Richard 
Guest.) According to all the above statements, 
power-loom weaving had made but little prog- 
ress in Great Britain before it was commenced 
in this country at Waltham. 

Mr. Appleton's " Introduction of the Power- 
Loom" contains many interesting particulars of 
the steps taken in perfecting the machinery 
and organizing the various departments of the 
business. He relates the anecdote of a visit 
to Taunton to purchase the bobbin-winder, in 
substance the same as Mr. Moody related it to 
me. In the commencement of the business at 
Waltham, the filling, instead of being spun by 
the mule, as in England, was spun upon the 
warp-frame, and of course had to be wound 
upon a different bobbin to fit it for the shuttle. 
This, at first, was done by a machine invented 


by Stowell of Worcester; but Shepherd of Taun- 
ton had taken a patent for a machine for the 
purpose, which Mr. Moody thought preferable 
to the one they had in use ; and he went with 
Mr. Lowell to Taunton to see if they could 
make an agreement for the use of their patent 
at a reasonable price. They found Mr. Shep- 
herd disinclined to make any abatement, telling 
them that " they must of necessity come to his 
terms." Mr. Moody replied that, rather than 
give that price, he would invent a machine to 
sjrin the filling on a bobbin suitable for the shut- 
tle. Mr. Lowell, who at once perceived the 
practicability of doing this, dropped the subject, 
and after some further conversation, took leave. 
After starting on their return, Mr. Lowell told 
Mr. Moody that he had suggested the plan of 
spinning the filling on the bobbin, and now he 
must accomplish it. Mr. Moody had made the 
observation only by way of chaffering for a 
bargain, but under these circumstances turned 
his attention to the subject, and the result was 
the invention of the filling-frame, which was 
patented and has continued in use ever since. 

Mr. Moody also stated to me another incident 
respecting the construction and completing of 
the dressing-frame. At first they had used wood- 
en rollers where the threads of the warp were 
submitted to the action of the size, but being 


constantly wet, the wood swelled and warped, 
so that the rolls would not fit accurately. They 
then tried covering the rollers with metal, by 
casting a coat of pewter on the outside; but 
after various methods of casting, sometimes in 
sand, and sometimes in a mould made of iron, 
for the purpose, they were still found to be im- 
perfect. He at length thought of making a 
mould of soap-stone in which to cast them. 
Meeting his brother in Boston, who had been 
aware of the trouble he had experienced on 
the subject, he said to him, U I think I skull get 
over the difficult'/ about the rollers, I intend t<> tr/j 
soap-stone," meaning for a mould to cast them 
in. His brother replied, misapprehending him, 
" Well, I should think soap-stone zvould make a 
very good roller." Mr. Moody made no reply, 
but took the hint, and made his rollers of soap- 
stone, which has come into general use for the 

In the power-looms that were first put in 
operation both at Waltham and Lowell, the 
motion of the lay, which beats up the weft, was 
given by weights. After a time, many objec- 
tions were found to the use of weights, and it 
was thought expedient to give the motion di- 
rectly from the revolving shaft by a cam. The 
mathematical calculations to give this cam such 
a form as would produce the accelerated veloc- 

LOWELL. (39 

ity of a falling body, and thus to give the same 
motion as the weights, was a problem for Mr. 
Warren Colburn, whose skill in this and many 
other -instances was made available in the ap- 
plication of mathematical science to practical 

After the interesting account given by Mr. 
Nathan Appleton, of the " Origin of Lowell," it 
is unnecessary to enlarge upon the subject. 
I recollect, however, a conversation in 1824, 
with Mr. Patrick Jackson, with reference to his 
expectations of the future prospects of the 
growth of Lowell, which at the time appeared 
to be extravagant and almost visionary. He 
stated that the purchases of real estate, at what 
was then East Chelmsford, on account of the 
manufacturing company, comprised about the 
same number of acres as the original peninsula 
of the City of Boston, before it began to be 
extended by filling up the flats, and said, — "If 
our business succeeds, as we have reason to 
expect, we shall have as large a population in 
the place in twenty years from this time, as 
there was in Boston twenty years ago." As 
extravagant as this prediction appeared at the 
time, when only two of the Merrimack mills 
were erected, and the population was less than 
2000, it was more than realized. 

Immediately after the power-loom was put 


in operation at Waltham in 1814, measures 
were in progress for its introduction into Rhode 
Island, from a different source, and of a differ- 
ent construction. 

William Gilmore emigrated to the British 
Provinces and came to Boston in September 
1815. He had been acquainted with the power- 
loom and dressing-machine before he left Scot- 
land. He brought to Boston certain small arti- 
cles of Scotch manufacture, which in the state of 
trade at that time met a profitable market. Here 
he was met by Mr. Robert Rogerson, who was 
told that Gilmore had been employed in power- 
loom weaving, and understood the construction 
of the power-looms and dressing-machinery. 
Mr. Rogerson took him to Uxbridge and Smith- 
field, and made him known to John Slater. 
He proposed to Mr. Slater to build the machin- 
ery for power-loom weaving, — to have nothing 
for his labor unless he succeeded in putting the 
looms in operation. But the prospects of busi- 
ness at that time were so discouraging, that 
parties were not willing to enter into engage- 
ments, and he went to work as a machinist at 
Smithfield, where he commenced paying rent 
October 21, 1815. 

Previous to this time a machinist by the 
name of Blydensburg had been employed at 
the Lyman Mills, in North Providence, in at- 


tempting to build a power-loom, but without 
success. Gilmore was employed, in the early 
part of 1816, to build twelve looms, and also 
machinery for warping and dressing, from the 
plans and drawings he had brought with him, 
which he accomplished to the satisfaction of 
his employer ; and they were put in operation 
early in 1817. For the compensation of ten 
dollars he allowed Messrs. David Wilkinson & 
Co. the use of his patterns for building twelve 
other looms ; and they got their twelve looms in 
operation nearly as soon as those built by Gil- 
more. This was the first introduction of the 
crank-loom in this country ; and, to manifest 
their gratitude for the services rendered by Mr. 
Gilmore, the manufacturers subscribed to raise a 
fund of fifteen hundred dollars ; and one of the 
subscribers to this fund refers to his receipt for 
payment of his subscription, which he has pre- 
served, bearing date May 31, 1817, — thus show- 
ing the time when the crank-loom was put in 
operation in this country. The family of Gil- 
more, after his death, removed to Baltimore ; 
and it ought not to be forgotten that one of his 
sons distinguished himself at the commence- 
ment of the present rebellion, by coming for- 
ward boldly among a disloyal people to supply, 
at his own expense, refreshments to. one of the 
first regiments of soldiers from Rhode Island. 


which passed through that city soon after the 
assault upon the regiment from Massachusetts. 

Gilmore's looms were built in a very substan- 
tial manner, so that some of them, after thirty 
or forty years use, still continue capable of doing 
very good work, after supplying some of the 
improvements since introduced, but without 
any important alteration in the mechanical con- 
struction of the loom. His warper and dressing- 
frame were such as were adopted in Scotland 
at an early period, but were much less perfect 
than those that had been invented at Waltham, 
and put in use there two or three years earlier. 

Mule-spinning having been introduced in 
Rhode Island, the building of the power-loom, 
by Gilmore, completed the manufacturing sys- 
tem of that State within about three years 
from the time when the power-loom was put in 
operation at Waltham. 

The inventions and improvements in the 
machinery at Waltham having been patented, 
including the loom, the double speeder, warper, 
dressing-frame, and filling-frame, and the right 
to the use of these patents being held at a 
high price, most of the mills already built in 
Rhode Island adopted the crank-loom, and in- 
troduced various plans in the process of mak- 
ing the roving, instead of using the patented 
speeder, among which was the tube-speeder, in- 


vented b} r Danforth, which was afterwards intro- 
duced to a considerable extent in Great Britain. 

On the other hand, many of the mills, which 
had already been erected for spinning, in Mas- 
sachusetts and New Hampshire, adopted the 
Waltham loom, and most of the large estab- 
lishments, which were built from time to time 
in those States, followed the Waltham plan in 
regard to other machinery, as well as the loom. 

There was thus established two different sys- 
tems or schools of manufacturing, one of which 
might be denominated the Rhode Island, and the 
other the Waltham system. 

One uses the live spindle, the other the dead 
spindle ; one, for filling, use the mule, the other 
the filling-frame ; one the Scotch dresser, the 
other the Waltham dresser ; one the crank- 
loom, the other the cam-loom. Both parties 
adhere pretty strongly to their own preferences, 
and manufacturers are still undecided which is 
the best in some particulars. It was not until 
ten years after the crank-loom had been in use 
in lihode Island, that it was adopted at Wal- 
tham, or Lowell, and in neither place, nor in 
any of the mills that followed their system, was 
mule-spinning introduced until after 1830. 

The machinery first constructed at Waltham 
was to a great extent the invention of ingen- 
ious machinists, who had no practical knowledge 


of manufacturing operations, and sometimes the 
facility of constructing the machine was more 
regarded than its adaptation to the use for 
which it was designed. The machinery intro- 
duced at Rhode Island, on the contrary, was 
adapted to its purpose by the skill acquired by 
practical experience in the English factories 
before the emigration of Slater. 

But there was a difference in the general 
management of the business in the two systems, 
as well as in the machinery, and the establish- 
ment at Waltham formed a new era in the 
manufacturing business. 

Mr. Slater had proceeded upon the English 
plan of employing families in the mill, often in- 
cluding children at an age when it would have 
been more proper for them to be at school. 
The consequence was the bringing together, 
in a factory village, a collection of families de- 
pendent entirely upon their labor, and often of 
parents who were disposed to live upon the 
labor of their children rather than upon their 
own, and exposed to suffering, as the operatives 
have been in England, whenever there was any 
interruption in the business. It was also the 
custom, instead of making payments in money, 
to establish what was called a Factory Store, 
from which the families were furnished with 
provisions and other articles, in payment for 


their labor, which resulted in a sort of depen- 
dence upon their employers. 

At Waltham, they at once commenced the 
practice of the payment of wages in money, 
every week or fortnight, and also provided 
boarding-houses to accommodate all in their 
employ. This precluded the employment of 
children : as about half the usual wages of 
females would be required for the payment 
of board, the Company could not afford to pay 
board and wages to those who were not capable 
of doing full work. The result was that only 
those of mature age could find employment; 
and such usually having a home to which they 
could return in case of any interruption in the 
business, they were not subject to be left de- 
pendent or exposed to suffering. 

From the time of the introduction of the 
power-loom, and the extension of its use, the 
cotton manufacture became established as an 
important element in American industry, par- 
ticularly in New England. Under much discour- 
agement at times by reason of the changing pol- 
icy of the government as to the tariff of duties 
on imported goods, the number of spindles 
continued to increase. But we are not able to 
determine from the census reports the rate of 
increase with any certainty, as there was not, 
until the census of 1840, any specific statement 
of the number of spindles in the several States, 


or of the aggregate number in the United 

In the Report of the census of 1840 the total 
number is stated at 2,285,337, of which 1,598,- 
198 were in New England. But in the census 
of 1850, neither the " Abstract " printed in 1853, 
nor the "Compendium" printed in 1854, or in 
the quarto Report, do we find any statement of 
the number of spindles, though there have been 
some statistics published that seem to imply 
that the returns of the marshals contained an 
enumeration of the spindles ; but in the state- 
ments published by authority, the information 
as to the cotton manufacture is confined to the 
" Number of establishments," " Amount of cap- 
ital," " Bales of cotton," " Tons of coal," " Value 
of materials," " Value of products," " Number of 
hands employed," and " Rate of wages," neither 
of which particulars afford so good an index of 
the extent of the business as the number of spin- 
dles ; and the returns received, respecting most 
of these details, would only be an approximate 
estimate much less reliable than the number of 
spindles, which could be accurately counted. 

The number of spindles in New England in 
1850 was estimated upon reliable authority at 
2,751,078; — the population of New England 
according to the census of 1850 was 2,728,106, 
making an average of 1008 spindles to 1000 
inhabitants, which seems a very remarkable co- 


incidence, and still more so when we find nearly 
the same proportion between the population 
and number of spindles in Great Britain at the 
same time as follows : — 

In England, Scotland, and Wales, the popula- 
tion in 1850 was 20,793,552, and according to 
Ellison's Hand-Book the number of spindles 
was 20,857,062, equal to 1003 spindles to 1000 
inhabitants ; so that at that time we had be- 
come as much a manufacturing people in New 
England as they were in Great Britain. From 
1850 to 1860 the population in New England 
had increased to 3,135,283. The number of 
spindles was reported at 3,959,297 ; looms, 
103,204, being an average of about thirty- 
eight spindles to the loom. 

By the preceding statements it would appear 
that the number of spindles from 1850 to 1860 
had increased much faster than the population, 
so that in 1860 the number of spindles in New 
England would average 1265 to the thousand 

The population of Great Britain, taken for 
April 8, 1861, was as follows : — 

England and Wales, . . . 20,205,504 

Scotland, .... 3,061,251 

Making for Great Britain, 23,266,755 

TVe have no reliable estimate of spindles in 
Great Britain at the above date; but at the 
same rate of increase per annum as between 


1850 and 1856, — according to Ellison's Hand 
Book, — there is reason to suppose the num- 
ber of spindles in 1861 could not be short of 
33,000,000, which would be equal to an aver- 
age of 1418 spindles to 1000 inhabitants. So 
that the spindles in Great Britain, as well as 
in New England, were increasing faster than 
the population. 

In a lecture, delivered at Blackburn in 1857, 
by Alderman John Baynes, he says : — 

" In 1846 there was no authentic or official 
statement of the number of spindles at work, 
and Messrs. DuFay & Co. of Manchester, at 
considerable expense, obtained much valuable 
information on this subject ; " and the returns 
of the 'Factory Commissioners' show the 
number in 1850 and 1856, so that the ac- 
count stands as follows : — 

England and Wales, 



DuFay fr Co., 





Factory Commissioners. 











The estimate of 
Baynes for the rest 
of Europe and the 
United States is as 
follows : — 


1856. ' 


United States, 







He says further : " I have not been able to 
obtain any accurate data as to the number 
of spindles at present in operation in Europe 
or the United States, excepting one furnished 
by Mons. Bruno Henneberg, of Vienna, in 
reference to the extent of the cotton trade in 
Austria, viz : — 

Lower Austria, ..... 569,979 

Upper Austria, 83,590 

Styria, 25,464 

Erain Gorr, 30,300 

Tyrol, 214,094 

Bohemia, 449,906 

Lombardy, 129,046 

Venice, 28,464 

Hungary, 2,400 

Total spindles, . . 1,533,243." 

According to Gov. Woodberry's Report upon 
Cotton, the first cotton machinery introduced 
in France was in 1787, being about the same 
time with the. first in operation in the United 
States. The first in Switzerland is stated on 
the same authority under date of 1798, and 
the first in Saxony in 1799. 

In the statistics of Massachusetts, we have 
the most reliable account of the progress of 
the cotton manufacture in that State since 
1837, made up from very careful returns from 
every town in the State : — 


Number of cotton mills. Number of spindles. 

1837 ... 282 . . 5G5,031 

1845 ... 302 . . 817,483 

1855 ... 294 . . 1,519,527 

1860 ... 301 . . 1,688,471 

By such data as we can obtain from the 
United States census, the whole number of 
spindles in the country, in 1840, was 2,285,337; 
1860, 5,035,798. 

The machinery for spinning cotton having 
been originally brought into use in England, 
was introduced into this country and France at 
about the same time, and at a later period into 
other countries of Europe. It was then quite 
imperfect, compared with what it is at present. 
Improvements have continued to be made both 
in this country and Europe ; and many American 
inventions have been of sufficient importance to 
be adopted in Great Britain ; and we have also 
availed ourselves of the improvements that 
have been made there, so that our best mills 
are not inferior, so far as machinery is con- 
cerned, to those of other countries. The rate 
of wages being higher here, we have had the 
greatest inducement to render our labor-saving 
machinery as perfect as possible. 

Among the improvements in cotton ma- 
chinery that have originated in this country, 
one of the most important is the combination 
of the train of three bevel wheels, to regulate 


the variable velocity requisite for winding the 
slender filaments of cotton on the bobbin of 
the roving frame, which was originally applied 
by a native of Rhode Island, Mr. Aza Arnold. 
This invention was successfully put in oper- 
ation in 1822, and Mr. Arnold's patent was 
issued January 21, 1823. Previous to the use 
of this simple but admirably scientific adapta- 
tion of wheel-work to the roving frame, a very 
difficult arrangement of racks and pinions was 
used for the purpose, which had been intro- 
duced by Messrs. Cocker & Higgins of Man- 
chester, which, though very ingenious, was 
attended with great cost for every alteration 
of the size of the roving for finer or coarser 
work. The roving frame, or double speeder, 
introduced at Waltham and Lowell, was sub- 
ject to the same objection, which was the 
reason that most of the cotton mills in Massa- 
chusetts and New Hampshire, built after the 
Waltham plan, were generally adapted to the 
manufacture of a single article of sheeting 
or drilling, of the same number of yarn, 
without any means of changing from one 
fabric to another, according to the wants of 
the market. 

The invention of Mr. Arnold, after having 
been used in the United States two years, was 
considered worthy of being introduced in Eng- 


land ; and a model was taken to Manchester 

by an American in 1825 ; and in January, 1826, 
letters patent were obtained, for the same 
combination for the same purpose, by Henry 
Houldsworth, Jr., — known as his differential or 
equation box. Ure, in his article on the cotton 
manufacture, after describing the apparatus for 
giving a uniform motion to the surface of the 
bobbins, while the circumference is gradually 
enlarged by the successive layers of the rov- 
ing wound around it, and referring to the 
improvements patented by Houldsworth, says : 
"It may be considered the most ingeniously 
combined apparatus in the whole range of 
productive industry." It having been patented 
in England, Dr. Ure was not aware that it 
was an American invention, and gives the 
whole credit of it to his countryman, who also 
derived great profit from his patent, — while 
Mr. Arnold was hardly known by the public 
in his own country as the inventor, and, be- 
sides, spent most of the profits he had realized 
from the early sale of his patents in a pro- 
tracted litigation to establish his rights, so that 
after the final judgment of the courts but 
little time remained for him to derive any 
income from his invention, and he acquired 
neither fame nor wealth by an improvement 
which has been of immense advantage to 


manufacturers, both at home and abroad.* It 
was not brought into use at Waltham or 
Lowell until two or three years after it was 
patented in England.! 

Another American invention is the Danforth 
or cap spinner, which was invented in 1828 by 
Charles Danforth of Paterson, New Jersey, by 
whom it was patented in this country Septem- 
ber 2, 1828. A patent was afterwards taken 
in the name of John Hutchinson of Liverpool, 
in 1830, when it went into extensive use, in 
England and other European States, for spin- 
ning the weft or filling, particularly before the 
late improvements in the self-acting mule. 

George Danforth, of Massachusetts, was the 
inventor of the tube frame, otherwise known 
as the Taunton speeder, from its having been 
first built and brought into use in that place. 
This machine has likewise been used to a con- 
siderable extent in England, being a much less 

* This differential or equation box, thus applied to cotton ma- 
chinery, is probably the same said to have been first invented in 
France by Pecqueux in 1813, and constructed by Perrelet in 
1823, to regulate the movements of an orrery. — See "Bulletin 
de la Sociele pour V encouragement de I'industrie nationale," 

■f For the particulars in relation to this improvement, I am in- 
debted to a communication from Mr. Zachariah Allen, being an 
extract from a manuscript work he is preparing respecting the 
cotton manufacture, and which it is hoped he will not further 
delay giving to the public. 


expensive machine than what is called the 
double speeder or fly frame, and answering 
veiy well for the purpose in the manufacture 
of coarse yarn. It was patented in England, 
by Mr. Dyer of Manchester, in J 825, having 
been in use in this country, and patented 
September 2, 1824. 

A very cheap machine for making roving, 
called the eclipse speeder, and capable of very 
rapid operation, was invented by Gilbert Brew- 
ster of Poughkeepsie, New York, and patented 
April 18, 1829. It was used for a time to a 
considerable extent on account of the cheap- 
ness of the machine and the great quantity 
of work produced. It was introduced into 
Manchester in 1835, and built by Sharp, 
Roberts & Co., and known as the eclipse 

The plate speeder was likewise brought into 
use in Manchester in 1835, by Mr. Neil 
Snodgrass, who imported one from America. 

What is called the stop-motion on the draw- 
ing frame was designed and brought into use at 
Saco, Maine, by the writer, in the year 1832. 
Before this invention, the slender fleeces of 
cotton from the card, not having received any 
twist to give them strength, and with hardly 
tenacity enough to support their own weight 
in the operations of the drawing-frame, where 


four strands or more were combined into one, 
required constant watching, lest the deficiency 
of one strand, by breaking or any other cause, 
should render the work imperfect ; and, with 
the greatest care, it was impossible to prevent 
many accidental imperfections. By the intro- 
duction of this improvement, not only was 
much loss of time prevented in stopping the 
machine to correct mistakes, but the speed 
might be increased with safety, and with the 
assurance that the work was correctly done. 
JS T o patent was taken for it in this country, 
the importance of it not having been duly 
appreciated by the inventor until it had been 
put in use by other parties ; but a patent was 
afterwards taken by H. Houldsworth in tug- 
land, from which the inventor derived some 
profit ; and no machinery is now built without 
adopting this improvement, either in England 
or thi< country. 

Mr. Montgomery, in his work on the " Cotton 
Manufacture of Great Britain and America," 
considers the application of the stop-motion on 
the warper, which was first used at Waltham, an 
important improvement over the warper used 
in (rreat Britain, which requires the utmost 
attention to notice instantly when a thread 
breaks ; and when this happens, the end of a 
broken thread may wind around the beam so 


far as to require some minutes to find it and 
put the machine in motion again; — but this 
cannot happen with the American warper, 
which stops instantly when a single thread 
breaks. This application of the drop-wire to 
stop the machine is said to have been suggested 
by Jacob Perkins, well known for many in- 
genious inventions. 

Of the dressing machine invented at Wal- 
tliam, Mr. Montgomery says: It is much more 
simple, more easily attended and kept in order, 
besides requiring less power and oil, than any 
he has seen, either in England or Scotland, 
and can be made for about half the cost of 
those used in Manchester and Glasgow. He 
says that those which, instead of the measur- 
ing roller, are mounted with steam-drying cyl- 
inders, invented and patented by Samuel 
Batchelder in 1835, produce the greatest 
quantity of work. 

A spinning-frame called the ring-spinner 
was invented by John Sharp, of Providence, 
about 1831, and, with some later improve- 
ments, has come into extensive use in this 
country, and is supposed by many to produce 
yarn cheaper than any other machine, but its 
use in England to any great extent has prob- 
ably been prevented by the great improve- 
ments in the self-acting mule. 


For a long time after the power loom went 
into operation in Great Britain, the use of the 
old hand-temples was continued for keeping 
the cloth extended to the width of the warp 
in the reed ; and the changing of these temples, 
as the weaving proceeded, required the watch- 
ful care of the weaver, and was often neg- 

The use of the self-acting temples, invented 
by Ira Draper, of Weston, Mass., and patented 
January 7, 1816, was introduced at Waltham 
about 1825, and, it is believed, long before any- 
thing; of the kind was used in England. 

A correspondent says he never saw a self- 
acting temple in use in Scotland, his last visit 
there having been in 1855. In 1850 one was 
pointed out to him in England as a novelty, 
so that it must have been many years after 
the general use of this important invention 
in this country before it was adopted in Great 
Britain. Mr. Montgomery says, of the weav- 
ing by power in America, the self-acting tem- 
ples, besides saving a great deal of labor on the 
part of the attendant, make a very superior and 
uniform selvedge, and expresses his surprise 
that they have not been more generally adopted 
in Great Britain.* 

* What renders this still more surprising is, that, as early as 
1805, in an English patent to Thomas Johnson and James Kay, 


Many other American improvements of mi- 
nor importance might be enumerated. 

The use of leather belts instead of iron gear- 
ing for transmitting motion to the main shafting 
of a mill, was introduced by Mr. Paul Mood} 7 , at 
Lowell, in 1828. Though not to be called an 
invention, this proved to be a very important 
improvement, and was entirely original in its 
application to the transmission of fifty or an 
hundred horse-power by a single belt, and has 
been very generally adopted in the mills in 
New England. 

Of similar character was a Dynamometer, not 
specifically applied to the cotton manufacture, 
out affording better means of ascertaining the 
power for driving machinery, either by water 
or steam than any instrument which had been 
used for the purpose. This was designed and 
built at Saco by the writer, and exhibited at 
the Fair of the Mechanics' Institute in Boston 
in 1839, when a medal was awarded for the in- 

It was made known in Europe by a descrip- 
tion in a work of J. Montgomery on the Cotton 
Manufacture, published at Glasgow in 1840 ; and 
in a German periodical * is a long article upon 

among other improvements in the loom is included a revolving 

* Dingler's Polytechnic Journal, Vol. 84, p. 7. 


the various dynamometers in use, in which this 
is included as taken from the "Proceedings of 
the Society for the Promotion of Industry in 
Prussia," and is distinguished in the engraving 
as " Batchelder's dynamometer," and described 
as simple and preferable to any known appar- 
atus for ascertaining the power actually used in 
driving machinery. 

In regard to manufacturing skill, so far as 
relates to carding and spinning, in which 
they have had in Great Britain the experience 
of one generation before we began, they must 
be farther advanced than we are, particularly 
as they serve a regular apprenticeship to the 
business, and follow the same employment 
through life ; while with us, so far as regards 
the female operatives, and to a certain extent 
as to others, it is only an employment for a 
few years, until an establishment or the cares 
of a family require their attention; and boys 
or men seldom follow the business long enough 
to acquire any skill, before they return to some 
agricultural employment; so that the greater 
part of those at work in our mills are only a 
succession of learners, who leave the business 
as -non as they begin to acquire some skill and 
experience; and therefore, in relation to card- 
ing and spinning, the English manufacturers 
are far in advance of us. In regard to weav- 


ing, the power-loom having been in use here 
nearly as long as in Great Britain, their manu- 
facturers have not so much the advantage of 
us, as a large proportion of our weavers have 
had some experience in hand-loom weaving be- 
fore commencing in the factoiy. But there is 
a difference in our management in regard to 
weaving, which has an effect. With us a weav- 
er generally attends four looms, sometimes 
more, and the looms operate at such a moderate 
speed, and are so organized with self-acting tem- 
ples and otherwise, as to enable the weaver to 
do this with ease. In England there is a preju- 
dice, and perhaps a stronger influence, against 
attending more than two looms, and it is at- 
tempted to make up for this by extraordinary 

Four looms, at a speed of 120, would weave 
480 threads per minute ; two looms, at an 
increased speed of fifty per cent., would weave 
only 3G0 threads, so that a weaver would pro- 
duce only three quarters as much cloth. In 
an establishment in England of 630 looms, of 
which I have had an opportunity to examine 
all the particulars, and compare them with a 
mill here, weaving a similar article, I find no 
weaver, out of the whole number of 346, at- 
tending more than two looms, and. comparing 
the price paid for weaving, I find the cost to 


be at least fifteen per cent, more than in this 
country ; and the wages even at this rate were 
such as induced the weavers to strike for addi- 
tional pay. 

The advantage of manufacturing in England. 
on account of wages, is much less than we have 
generally supposed. The business is, no doubt, 
conducted there more economically in many 
particulars than with us. The cost of machin- 
ery is less, and the interest on capital less, and 
fine articles, or such as require experience and 
skill, can undoubtedly be produced cheaper 
there than here ; but it is questionable whether 
heavy goods, such as drilling and sheeting, 
which make up a very large proportion of the 
consumption of this country, can be produced 
cheaper than in the United States. 

One of the countervailing advantages in this 
country, compared with the expense of manu- 
facturing in Great Britain, is the abundance 
and cheapness of water-power. There was. 
some time ago, an attempt, by interested par- 
ties, to prove that steam-power was cheaper 
than water-power. Facts afford a practical 
refutation of this theory. In England, where 
coal and steam-power is much cheaper than 
in most of the manufacturing districts of this 
country, there are many instances where water- 
wheels, and all the necessary arrangements 


for the use of water-power, are provided at 

great expense, where water-power can be used 
used for only half the year.* 

In this country, at Manayunk, where the 
canal for the supply of coal to the city of Phil- 
adelphia passes by the walls of the mills, and 
where steam-power can be produced at less 
cost than in any other manufacturing section 
of the country, the mills are driven by water- 
power at an annual rent equal to sixty dollars 
per horse-power, or about four times the cost of 
water-power at Lowell or Lawrence, on the 
Merrimack Eiver, where the rent and interest 
at six per cent., payable on the cost of water- 
power and land for a mill, will average a frac- 
tion over fifteen dollars per horse-power per 

Mr. Montgomeiy, in his comparison of " Cot- 
ton Manufacture in Great Britain and the 
United States," estimates the cost of steam- 

* Mr. Zachariah Allen says : " Notwithstanding the abun- 
dance of coal in England, and the very general use of the steam- 
engine, water-power is highly valued in all the manufacturing 
districts, and mills are erected on streams, which in many in- 
stances are sufficient to turn the water-wheels, and operate the 
machinery during only a part of the year." And in his visit 
to Stanley Mills, he mentions " five large cast-iron water-wheel-, " 
and says, "My surprise was greatly excited on being informed, 
that, with all these water-wheels, a deficiency of water rendered 
it necessary to keep a steam-engine in operation three or four 
months of the rear." 


power in Massachusetts at about ninety dollars 
a year per horse-power, which he says is about 
double the cost of the same power in Glasgow. 
There is much uncertainty in all estimates of 
the cost of steam-power, arising in part from 
the want of accuracy in the admeasurement 
of the power of steam-engines, and an over- 
estimate of their power, as well as from other 

The cost of steam-power has been much 
reduced by improvements in the steam-engine 
within a few years, both here and in Great 
Britain ; but if w y e reduce the above estimates 
by one half, it would leave the cost of steam- 
power at $22.50 in Scotland, which would be 
fifty per cent, above the cost of water-power 
on the Merrimack. 

If we take the improvements in the Corliss 
engine, which is said to have reduced the aver- 
age consumption of coal to two and a half 
pounds to the horse-pow r er per hour, the cost 
of fuel only, with coal at $6 per ton, would be 
$27.90 per annum, or nearly double the cost 
of water-power on the Merrimack, — besides the 
wages of engineer and fireman, and also subject 
to fluctuations in the price of coal according to 
the market, which at present would be fifty 
per cent, above the estimate. 

This estimate of water-power, at §1-5 per 


horse-power per annum, also includes the cost 
of land suitable for mill-sites at Lowell and 
Lawrence, the two principal manufacturing 
cities in the country ; but such is the su- 
perabundance of water-power in New Eng- 
land, and other parts of the country, that 
it could be obtained, in situations favorable 
for manufacturing, for half the cost above 

According to present appearances, the history 
of the introduction of the cotton manufacture 
may almost be considered a history completed. 
There are at this time probably not much more 
than one third the number of spindles in oper- 
ation that there were in 1860. 

In the Report of the Boston Board of Trade, 
for the year 1863, Mr. Edward Atkinson states 
that he made a list of the principal mills in the 
New England States and New York, to ascer- 
tain how many of the spindles were stopped 
in June, 1862, and found the number to be 
2,327,000 ; and again, November 1st, made a 
similar estimate, and found the number to be 
2,169,650. According to the census of 1860, 
the number of spindles in those States was 
4,288,113, so that in June and November, 1862, 
there were only about one half of the spindles 
in operation, and since that time the number 
has been considerably reduced ; and Mr. Atkin- 


son estimates that the total number in oper- 
ation, December 31st, was about 1,700,000, 
which would be about two fifths of the number 
in those States. 

We have no means of estimating, with any 
accuracy, the diminished operations in Great 
Britain, but, from the complaints of distress for 
want of emplo}'ment, there is reason to suppose 
the interruption of the business there, has not 
been less than in this country. A confirmation 
of this opinion may be found in the Report of 
the " Cotton Supply Association," of April 1, 
1863, according to which the total importation 
of cotton into Great Britain in 1862 was only 
4,678,180 cwts., while the total importation for 
the year 1859-60, before any interruption to 
the business, was, according to Mann's "Cotton 
Trade of Great Britain," 10,946,331 cwts. ; so 
that the supply for 1862 was but little more 
than four tenths of the former importation. Of 
this reduced supply, instead of the usual pro- 
portion of 85 per cent, of American cotton, the 
proportion is reduced to 4^ per cent, of Amer- 
ican, including all that has been received from 
the West India islands and other places con- 
cerned in running cotton from the blockaded 

While the supply from America has been 
thus diminished, an increase has taken place 
from other countries as follows : — 




1S6 2. 









Turkish dominions, 








Western coast of Africa, 




Mauritius, . 





175, 682 







New Grenada, 


10.34 2 











Total increase, 


The stimulus of high prices has probably 
occasioned a still further increase of produc- 
tion in those countries for the present year ; 
and this, together with the cultivation of cot- 
ton in other climates favorable to its produc- 
tion, with the advantage of the employment 
of free labor, will probably have the effect, 
within a few years, to supply the world with 
cotton of an improved quality, without depend- 
ence upon slavery, or any monopoly of the 
Southern States. 

As to the production of cotton in this coun- 
try for the year or two past, we have no means 
of forming an estimate, except by conjecture. 
However, when we consider the diminished 
number of slaves employed in the South, and 
the interruption to the cultivation of cotton 
from other causes, and the increased proportion 



of labor necessarily diverted to the production 
of grain and provisions, we may be satisfied 
that the power of King Cotton has suffered as 
much in the field as in the factory. 

The events of the last two years have pro- 
duced such an entire change in the cultivation 
of cotton, and its manufacture, both in this 
country and abroad, that it is difficult to form 
any opinion as to the future, and yet it would 
be intensely interesting to be able to look for- 
ward a few years in anticipation of coming 
events. Much will depend upon the supply 
and price of cotton. The cost to New England 
manufacturers for each month from January 
1861 to September 1863, taking the average of 
the market from the highest to the lowest 
price of the month, has been as follows : — 
















April . 




May . 








July . 




August . 

















The proprietors of those mills, which have 
been in operation for the year past, have found 



their purchases of middling cotton to aver- 
age rather above than below sixty cents per 
pound, which is about five times the price for 
the few years iDrececling. At this rate the 
quantity of goods that could be manufactured 
and sold at a moderate profit, has kept in oper- 
ation about one third of the spindles in the 
Northern States. 

It is evident that the wants of the commu- 
nity will continue to require a considerable 
supply of cotton manufactures, notwithstanding 
the high price of the raw material, and if there 
should be such an increase in the supply as to 
produce a decline in price, the demand for con- 
sumption would increase, but such an increase 
in the supply must be very slow and uncertain. 

The imports of cotton into Great Britain in 
1862, above the quantity imported in 1861 
from all those countries from which there had 
been any increase, was about seventy-seven per 
cent, upon the quantity imported from the 
same countries in the former year, or nearly 
five per cent, on the whole imports, — and 
though the stimulus of high prices may pro- 
duce a still further increase from many for- 
eign sources, the supply from such sources must 
be quite limited, when we consider that only 
one sixth part of the cotton manufactured in 
England has been derived from all other coun- 


tries than the United States, — and where the 
increase depends upon new planting, it will 
require a long time to make it available ; so 
that the principal reliance must be on resum- 
ing the cultivation in this country under more 
favorable circumstances than the present. 

With reference to the operations of our cot- 
ton mills, we shall undoubtedly import less and 
manufacture more of our textile fabrics than 
we have been accustomed to do, and whenever 
business shall resume its ordinary course, it will 
require a large quantity of goods, not only to 
supply the consumption, but to fill up the 
deficient stock in all the channels of trade, — 
goods may therefore be expected to maintain 
their price according to the cost of the raw 

But all these calculations as to results can 
only be considered as probabilities, subject to be 
interfered with in the present unsettled state 
of affairs, by so many contingencies from polit- 
ical as well as other causes, that the changes 
and chances for a few years to come may be as 
strange and unexpected as have been those of 
the few years past. 




The earliest patent granted in Great Britain for any- 
important improvement in manufacturing, -was that to John 
Kay, for the invention of the Fly-shuttle, May 26, 1733 

The first machinery for spinning, of which we have any 
satisfactory account, was that invented by John Wyatt, soon 
after 1730, and which was patented in the name of Lewis 
Paul, June 24, 1 738 

A patent for carding machinery, in which is described 
the cylinder card, as first used by hand, was granted to 
Lewis Paul, August 30, 1748 

A second patent for spinning machinery was granted to 
Lewis Paul, June 29, 1 758 

The invention of the drop-box by Robert Kay, by means 
of which filling of different colors could be used with the 
fly-shuttle, 1 760 

According to Guest, the spinning-jenny was invented by 
Thomas Highs, 1 764 

The invention is also claimed by James Hargraves, who 
took a patent for it, June 12, 1770 

Arkwright's first patent for spinning machinery, July 3, 1769 

Act of Parliament to prohibit the exportation of ma- 
chinery, 1 774 

Second patent to Arkwright, including Carding, Draw- 
ing, and Spinning, was granted December 16, 1 775 

Patent to Robert Peele, for carding, roving, and spin- 
ning, February 18, 1779 

Mule-spinning invented by Samuel Crompton (not 
patented), 1779 

James Watt took his first patents for improvements in 

steam-engine, March 12, 1782 

Subsequent patents in 1784 and 1785. 


Power-loom invented by Edmund Cartwright, first pa- 
tent, April 4, 1 785 

Subsequent patents 1786, 1787, 1788. 

Arkwright's patents declared void, 1785 

Cylinder printing was patented by Thomas Bell, July 
1 7, 1783, and introduced in Lancashire 1785 

Bleaching by oxymuriatic acid was discovered in France 
by Berthollet, 1785 

And introduced at Manchester practically,* 1788- 

Legislature of Massachusetts made a grant to Robert 
and Alexander Barr, to aid them in building machinery 
for spinning cotton, 1786 

First machinery for spinning cotton put in operation in 
France,. . . 1787 

Grant to Thomas Somers by the Legislature of Massa- 
chusetts, to aid him in completing machines for spinning, 1787 

First cotton factory built in the United States at Bev- 
erly, Massachusetts, 1 787 

Some spinning-jennies were put in operation in Phil- 
adelphia and Providence, 1788 

Commencement of the cultivation of Sea Island cotton 
in Georgia, from Pernambuco seed, 1789 

Samuel Slater came to this country, and was employed 
at New York, where he said they had in operation one 
carding engine and two spinning-jennies, at the close of 
the year 1789 

Slater came to Providence, Rhode Island, and began 
building a cotton factory, 1 790 

In which they commenced spinning early in 1791 

Cotton gin invented by Eli Whitney in 1793, and pa- 
tented March 14, 1 794 

Cotton mill built by Slater and others at Pawtucket, 
Massachusetts, 1798 

First cotton mill and machinery in Switzerland, 1 798 

First spinning machinery in Saxony, 1799 

Water-mill at Beverly, Massachusetts, with Arkwright 
machinery, 1802 

* See Note C. 


* First cotton mill in New Hampshire commenced at 

New Ipswich in 1803, and went into operation 1804 

Second mill at Pawtucket, Massachusetts, 1805 

Mill at Pomfret, Connecticut, 1806 

After the patents for a power-loom to Edmund Cart- 
wright, several other patents were taken by other parties, 
some of which went into partial operation, but none with 
any success, until the invention of the dressing-frame by 
Radcliff and Ross, with the assistance of Thomas Johnson. 
Guest gives the date of this invention 1803 ; Baines in 
1804. One of the patents to Thomas Johnson was issued 
February 28, 1803, and another June 2, 1804 ; and a mill 
for weaving was built at Manchester in 1806, which may 
be considered the date of the successful commencement of 

power-loom weaving, 1806 

Mill built at Smithfield, Rhode Island, by John Slater, 1807 

Mill built at Watertown, Massachusetts, 1807 

Second cotton mill in New Hampshire at New Ipswich, 1808 

Norfolk cotton factory at Dedham, incorporated, 1808 

First cotton mill in Maine, at Brunswick, 1809 

Mill at Dorchester, Massachusetts, incorporated, 1811 

Incorporation of Boston Manufacturing Company, known 

as Waltham Company, > 1813 

Power-looms in operation at Waltham, being the first in 

the United States, 1814 

William Gilmore emigrated to this country, 1815 

And put the crank-loom in operation in Rhode Island, • • 1817 

First cotton factory built at Lowell, 1822 

Self-acting mule patented by Richard Roberts, March 29, 1825 

First cotton mill at Lawrence, Massachusetts, 1849 

There is so much uncertainty and inaccuracy as to the dates 
of manv improvements and inventions in cotton machinery in the 
accounts given by Guest, Kennedy, Baines, and others, who seem 
to have copied one another's errors, instead of correcting them, 
that I have referred for the dates of all patented improvements to 
the collection of " Specifications of Inventions from March 2,1617, 
to October 1, 1852," in Great Britain, contained in one hundred 
and sixty volumes of text, and three hundred and ten volumes of 
plates, a copy of which may be found in the Boston Library. 

* See Note D. 



This early patent for spinning by machinery deserves particu- 
lar attention for various reasons. In the first place, for the accu- 
racy 'with which it describes the process of roller spinning; and 
secondly, because it did not go into successful operation for thirty 
years, when Arkwright took his first patent ; and thirdly, because 
the existence of this patent was entirely unknown at the time of 
the trials on the validity of Arkwright's patents, in 1781 and 1785, 
when the attempt was made to show that Arkwright was not the 
original inventor; and even afterwards, in 1828, at the time of 
the controversy between Guest and the " Edinburgh Review," in 
which the experiments of Thomas Highs, about the year 1764, 
■were attempted to be set up as the original of the Arkwright ma- 

This invention was made soon after 1730, by John Wyatt, and 
was patented in the name of Lewis Paul, June 24, 1 738. The pro- 
cess, in substance, is thus described in the specification. The 
wool or cotton being prepared, one end of the roping is put be- 
tween a pair of rollers, which being turned round, by their motion 
draw in the cotton to be spun, and a succession of other rollers, 
moving proportionally faster than the first, draw the roving into 
any degree of fineness which may be required. 

A second process is then described that is quite unintelligible 
without drawings. — The specification then proceeds to describe a 
third process as follows : " In some other cases only the first pair 
of rollers is used, and then the bobbins on which the yarn is spun, 
are so contrived as to draw faster than the rollers give, and in 
such proportion as thejirst sliver is proposed to be diminished." 

Though the first process described in Paul's patent coincides 

104. NOTES. 

exactly with Arkwright's roller spinning, it does not appear to 
have been put in operation even by the inventor. The third 
process only was used, as appears by the letter of Charles Wyatt, 
who says, — " the wool had been carded in the common way, and 
was passed between two cylinders, from whence the bobbins drew 
it by means of the twist," — and also by the patent taken for an 
improvement twenty years after the first, June 29, 1 758, which, 
after describing the preparation of the rove, says, — " which be- 
in" put between a pair of rollers, is by their turning round, de- 
livered to the nose of a spindle, in such proportion to the thread 
made as is proper for the particular occasion." The spindle is so 
contrived as to draio faster than the rollers give, in proportion to 
the length of yarn, into which the matter to be spun is proposed 
to be drawn. 

From this it plainly appears that the extension of the roving to 
produce the yarn did not take place by the different motion of 
successive pairs of rollers, but by the stretch between the rollers 
and the spindle, somewhat similar to the drawing of the roving 
while receiving the twist, as on the spinning jenny or the one 
thread wheel. 

There are no drawings in existence to explain the processes in 
this first patent, but the specification and engravings (published 
in Baines' History of the Cotton Manufacture, p. 139) of the 
second patent to Paul in 1758, for improvements in the machinery 
then in use, show plainly that they relate only to the third process 
of the first patent, and would be very imperfect compared with 
the process of roller spinning, if that had then been brought into 

Mr. Kennedy (Baines, p. 125,) from an examination of spec- 
imens of yarn furnished by Mr. Wyatt's son, pronounced " that 
it could not be said by competent judges that it was spun by a 
similar machine to that of Arkwright." 

It may seem very strange that so many years elapsed after the 
invention by Wyatt of the true process of roller spinning, before 
it was put in operation by Arkwright in 1769, notwithstanding 
the intervening attempt to construct machinery for the purpose 
by Highs, and perhaps by others ; for the means of supplying yarn 
for the weavers, seems to have been an object which engaged 
attention very extensively. The reason, however, that none of 

NOTES. 105 

these plans for spinning went into successful operation probably 
was the defect in the preliminary processes. 

We see no mention of drawing, or any operation between the 
card and the spinning. A manufacturer will appreciate the im- 
portance of this operation, and others also, when they are told 
that in some of our mills for fine spinning, (that at Portsmouth 
for instance,) the drawing and doubling is carried to the extent 
that the sliver as it comes from the card is doubled more than two 
thousand times, so that each thread as it is spun consists of so 
many ends of carding extended and drawn down to the size of 
the yarn. 

These operations tend to straighten the fibres of the cotton and 
lay them parallel, so as to give strength in the operation of spin- 
ning, and also to the yarn after it is spun, and it may be doubtful 
now, whether the most perfect Arkwright spinning machinery 
would operate successfully with roving produced without tbis pre- 
liminary process, or made according to the specification in the 
second patent to Paul in 1758, which says, the cotton to be spun 
" must first be carded upon a card made up of a number of par- 
allel cards with intervening spaces between each, and the matter 
so carded must be taken off each card separately. The several 
roves or filliaments so taken off must be connected into one en- 
tire roll, which being put between a pair of rollers," etc. 

It was not until the first patent by Arkwright that any patent 
was granted for draiving machinery, or that the process of draw- 
ing received due attention, and this in all probability was what 
insured his success. 

Baines, p. 182, says, " The drawing and roving frames depend 
on exactly the same principles as the spinning frame, for which 
Arkwright took out his patent of 1 769 ; — they were modifications 
of that machine, but the new processes, which they were made to 
perform were indispensable to the perfecting of the yarn. He 
was the first to introduce the drawing process and to apply the 
spinning rollers to the purpose of roving. 

In the yarn examined by Mr. Kennedy, the difference in the 
position of the fibres in that spun on Wyatt's machine from the 
parallelism of those in the yarn spun by Arkwright, was probably 
what enabled him to pronounce that the former had been spun 
by a different process. 

106 NOTES. 


The first patent to Edmund Cartwright for a power-loom was 
granted April 14, 1785, and he also took further patents for im- 
provements in 1786-87 and 88, which seem to comprise all the 
necessary movements for weaving by power, including the stop- 
motion for the shuttle, and self-acting temples. He built a mill 
for weaving at Doncaster, which was unsuccessful. 

About 1790, Mr. Grimshaw of Manchester, under a license from 
Mr. Cartwright, erected a weaving factory, operated by steam, 
which after various difficulties was burnt, and Guest says, " for 
many years no further attempts were made in Lancashire to 
weave by steam." 

Guest says Mr. Austen of Glasgow invented a loom in 1789, 
which was further improved in 1798, and a building for two hun- 
dred looms was erected by Mr. Monteith in 1800. No patent is 
recorded for such a loom to Mr. Austen. Baines says Mr. Mon- 
teith built such a mill in 1801 for two hundred looms, invented by 
Robert Miller, whose patent was granted June 28, 1796. 

In 1803, April 14, a patent was taken by John Todd for a 
loom in which the lay was operated by a crank, and with a shuttle 

In 1803, April 20, a patent was granted to William Horrocks, 
and another, May 14, 1805, but both relate to the motion of the 
shuttle, and neither comprise the essential requisites for a power- 
loom. Baines says Ilorrock's loom is the one that has now come 
into general use. This must of course refer to his loom, as im- 
proved, by the patent granted to him July 31, 1813, in which the 
lay is driven by a crank. 

In 1805, August 9, a patent was granted to Thomas Johnson 
and John Kay, for a loom with revolving temples, and such a 
let-off motion as is still in use; and in 1806, August 1, to Peter 
Marsland, for a loom which operated with a crank. 

Several of these looms seem to have been complete in all that 
was necessary for power-loom weaving ; but though some of them 
actually went into operation, none of them were capable of super- 
seding the old process of weaving by hand. This was probably 
not so much, from any defect in the machinery, as for want of the 

NOTES. 107 

suitable preparation of the web, and it was not until the invention 
of the dressing-frame by Thomas Johnson, one of whose patents 
bears date February 28, 1803, and the other June 2, 1804, that 
power-loom weaving could be considered as successfully estab- 
lished. In this case, as in relation to the spinning machinery, it 
was a long time after the true principles were discovered, and the 
machinery invented, before the practical skill was acquired to put 
it in operation. 

Guest says a factory for steam-looms was built at Manchester in 
1806, and soon afterwards two others at Stockport, and about 
1809 a fourth was completed at West Houghton. 

It does not appear which among the foregoing patent looms was 
first put in use, but according to Baines, we may conclude that 
the loom of Horrocks, after his improvements in 1813 was adopt- 
ed, so that it would appear that power-looms were not completed 
and in successful operation for any considerable time before their 
introduction at Waltham in 1814, and it should be recollected that 
as late as 1813, mobs were breaking the power-looms in the 
neighborhood of Manchester, and among others, those above men- 
tioned at West Houghton. 


According to Baines, it occurred to Berthollet that cloth might 
be bleached by chlorine, formerly termed oxymuriatic acid, and in 
1785, having tested it by experiment, he made known the dis- 
covery. James Watt learned this from Berthollet at Paris, and 
on his return to England, late in 1786, he introduced the practice 
at the bleach-field of his father-in-law, Macgregor, near Glasgow. 
After this, without any knowledge of Watt's experiments, but 
acting upon the suggestion of Berthollet's papers, Thomas Henry 
of Manchester, who was delivering lectures on dyeing, printing, 
and bleaching, pursued his experiments on the subject and made 
known the result to the Manchester bleachers, in 1788, by a public 
exhibition of the bleaching of half a yard of calico. 

108 NOTES. 


In a periodical published at Manchester a few years ago, a 
claim was set up that the first cotton mill in New Hampshire was 
built at Amoskeag Falls in 1804. This claim was supported by 
the testimony of Jonas Harvey, the owner of a saw-mill, who says 
he leased the privilege to Benjamin Prichard in the fall of 1804, 
when the cotton mill was built. This seemed to make a very 
strong case. But it was within my knowledge that the first ac- 
quaintance of Prichard with the cotton business was by means of 
his employment in the first factory which went into operation in 
New Ipswich in 1804, and also that he was employed in building 
the second factory in New Ipswich, which was commenced in 
1807, and of course there must have been a mistake in the date 
when he built the mill at Manchester. Accordingly, I find on 
referring to the records of New Ipswich, that he did not leave 
that place until 1807, and continued to pay a poll tax there until 
that date. Besides, I was a petitioner to the legislature of New 
Hampshire in 1808, for exemption from taxes for the second mill 
in New Ipswich, and during the progress of the act for that pur- 
pose through both branches of the legislature there was no sug- 
gestion of there being any other cotton mill in the State at that 
time, except the two at New Ipswich. The large manufacturing 
establishments at Amoskeag Falls in Manchester were com- 
menced in 1831.